Being a mother of a toddler, a school-age child or an adolescent which thought haunts you and keeps you worried all the time? It is your child’s eating habits!!! You might be going over the board thinking about how to create a balance between taste and nutrition for your finicky eater child.
Remember your childhood days when you loathed having greens and other strong-flavoured foods. But you do like them now. Why?? Simply put, our taste buds gradually, with an increase age, decrease in their affectivity and we start adjusting to the strong flavours. So you have a consolation there, one day my finicky eater might start taking those greens with pleasure. Until then, to make them eat nutritious food following tips might come in handy:
Go one by one
when introducing new foods into the diet. This facilitates observing the response of the child to food. It also helps to find out if the child is allergic to any food.
Change the form
If your child does not like a particular food, try to change the form of that food and see the response. E.g. if the child does not like spinach as saag then you can try making it as palak paneer or kofta instead.
Our food choices generally rub on our children. So even if I do not like a food I try not to show my dislike or displeasure. Children should be encouraged to try most foods eaten by the family.
Variety in choice of foods and innovation in the recipes is important to avoid monotony. Even the slightest change like a change in the shape of chapatti might make your child interested in the meal.
Try the trick of camouflaging
Most children are finicky about eating fruits and vegetables. Add these foods in invisible mode. For example, we can add vegetables as stuffing / topping or chopped too fine to get noticed, and fruits can be added in milk, pureed, and added to certain desserts (e.g. custards).
If your child refuses to drink milk, we can compensated for the deficiency of calcium by including foods like curd, cheese, yoghurt ,or from sardines, and other fish that contain fine bones. For vegetarians we can add til (sesame), ragi to the diet. These not only have a high amount of calcium but are also good source of protein.
Pack a wholesome lunch: The packed lunch should include carbohydrates (rice/chapati/parantha), proteins (pulses, paneer, soy nuggets, egg / non-veg) and vitamin minerals (vegetables and fruits). Few examples of packed lunches: Vegetable and nutri-nuggets Pulao & fruit; Methi/palak parantha with fruit; Dal parantha & fruit; Paneer sandwich & fruit, etc.
In dealing with your picky/finicky children while eating, you should be patient. Remember that our patience is worth our child’s health.