Fussy eating is a normal phenomenon faced by almost every parent. Suddenly, your child starts selective eating; she/he eats specific food depending on her/his mood & palate. Fussy eating is a part of children's development. For fussy eating children, it is a way of exploring their environment & asserting their independence. It is also because of their appetite that fluctuates based on how much they are growing & how active they are. Fussy eating is more common among toddlers & can go beyond this age group, if not tackled properly.
VARIOUS STRATEGIES THAT CAN HELP YOUR CHILD ACCEPT A WIDER RANGE OF FOODS:
TRY DIFFERENT VEGGIES
Most kids are not judgemental about new foods. Just because a child doesn't like the typical peas & carrots, that does not mean that she/he won't enjoy other, less common, veggies. By offering them new veggies they've probably never even heard of, they won't even know they are veggies & may like it.
DIP SOLVES EVERYTHING
Kids love dipping their food in stuff like chutney, a healthy dressing or anything like that. They love the fun of dipping. Let them pair new foods with dips. Check out some healthy dips for your little in our recipes section.
KEEP PORTIONS SMALL
Kids are small, so their plates look bigger in their eyes than yours. A big heap of veggies is frightening to a little kid. A smaller, less intimidating portion is comparatively better for them to consider eating. So, try to keep the portion sizes of their meals smaller.
IRON RICH FOOD
Some children may have an iron deficiency which may affect their appetite. Hence, it is crucial to give iron-rich food from the time weaning is started. Pulses, green leafy vegetables, different types of spinach, dry fruits, finely chopped/powdered nuts can be introduced.
HERE IS A LIST OF SOME NUTRIENT-DENSE FOODS THAT MOST CHILDREN ARE WILLING TO EAT:
Avocados are rich in healthy fats, which are essential for growing kids. Kids gain fiber when they eat avocados. This helps remove the wastes from the digestive system, which is a benefit for kids who are prone to constipation.
Broccoli comprises several nutrients that are essential for your baby's growth. Being a good source of vitamin C, it helps in strengthening the immune system. Broccoli is also a good source of antioxidants that are an essential ingredient in any diet, equally for adults as well as for kids.
Eggs are a perfect protein food. They contain omega 3 healthy fats which help in early brain development & improves memory.
The natural sweetness present in sweet potatoes make it a personal favorite of kids & it is also very rich in nutrient value, for which it can be considered as the proper healthy food for fussy food eaters. Being rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C & B complex vitamins, iron & phosphorous, sweet potatoes are excellent immunity boosters. They are also rich in fiber thus, good for digestion.
It is one of the best foods to satisfy your child’s sweet tooth. It is rich in proteins & consists of living organisms called probiotics that balance the gastrointestinal flora.
FOODS THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED:
Instant noodles like Maggi, Top Ramen, etc. are very easy to prepare & these tasty noodles are ready to eat in a couple of minutes, but these do not add any nutritional value to the body. Instead, it only adds refined flour in our body. The synthetic wax present in such noodles creates thick layers inside our intestines which takes at least three days to flush out from our system. This unhealthy food item can be replaced by healthy food recipes like vegetable upma, pohas, & as such to provide a balanced diet. Unlike noodles, it provides carbs & fiber to the body which is, essential for growing kids.
CORNFLAKES WITH MILK
Many of us think this is a safe breakfast option as it contains milk, but the truth is that the flakes you eat only add more sugar to your diet & not much nutrition. It will only add more weight to your body. Instead of this, you can switch to daliya or muesli with milk & a handful of nuts sprinkled on the top. This will give you fiber with essential fatty acids & other essential nutrients.
FRUIT JUICE/ PACKAGED JUICE
You may think that gulping down a glass of a preserved fruit juice is okay for your child. But they are mostly packed with sugar. Switch to a better idea, give her/him an orange itself rather than juice. Whole fruit offers all the vitamins & minerals, along with tummy-filling fiber that can help tame hunger pangs until lunch.
Pasta/white bread is an empty calorie food as it is made from refined & processed flour. This means that it is deficient in nutrients. Instead of white pasta/white bread you can opt for whole wheat pasta, whole wheat rolls (stuffed with veggies or paneer), & multi-grain bread.
Diet sodas are empty calories as they contain only artificial sweeteners & no essential nutrients which increases the risk of certain types of cancer. Instead of energizing your children with such drinks, switch to lemon water or coconut water.
Just because a product is labeled 'fat-free' or 'low-fat' doesn't mean it's healthier or even lower in calories. Fat-free products lack fat, but instead, they make up by adding sugars or other unhealthy ingredients. Some of the most popular low-fat foods are baked potato chips, diet namkeen, frozen yogurt, nutralite butter, etc.
SOME HEALTHY RECIPES FOR YOUR FUSSY EATER
BABY BANANA PANCAKE:
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 banana, cut into disk
- 1/4 cup wholemeal self-raising flour (for dusting)
- 1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
Step 1 Dust the bananas in the 1/4 cup of flour to coat.
Step 2 In a bowl, mix the batter by combining the 1 cup of flour with the egg & milk & sugar & whisking vigorously.
Step 3 Heat a frying pan & 1/2 tsp olive oil.
Step 4 Dip the banana disks in the batter & fry on each side until golden.
- 1 cup muesli
- 4 tbsp wheatgerm
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1-2 tbsp milk
Step 1 In a food processor or blender, place the muesli & raisins & process for 30 seconds.
Step 2 Add honey & peanut butter & process for a further 30 seconds.
Step 3 Test by rolling into a ball, if it doesn't stay intact, slowly add 1-2 tablespoons of milk until you can roll it into a ball.
Step 4 Keep in an airtight container.
SPINACH & FETA CHEESE MUFFIN:
- 2 medium eggs
- 75ml milk
- 75g grated feta cheese
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 40g fresh baby spinach, chopped
- ½ red pepper, diced
- Vegetable stock(as required for kneading the dough)
- 125g self raising flour
- Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1 Pre-heat the oven to 180o C & line a muffin tin with 6 muffin cases.
Step 2 Gently whisk the eggs in a large bowl & stir-in milk with it.
Step 3 Mix grated feta cheese, spring onion, baby spinach & diced pepper.
Step 4 Add flour & crumble them with vegetable stock & mix till all the ingredients are combined.
Step 5 Distribute the mixture within 6 muffin cases & bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked thorough (a skewer stuck into the middle should come out dry).