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Nurturing a ‘Picky Eater’ Child Without Compromising on Nutrition!

picky eater

Being a “Picky Eater” is a New Normal

There are no official medical criteria for the “picky eater,” but you probably know if your child qualifies for the diagnosis.

During the toddler and preschool years, picky eaters are the norm, rather than the exception. Food can fall in and out of your child’s favor with amazing speed and for no apparent reason.

Food jags are extremely common in this age group—almost every child becomes devoted to a particular food at some point in time, steadfastly refusing to eat almost anything else.


While you definitely won’t want your child to continue these behaviors forever, there’s usually no reason to worry in the short term. In some cases, a certain degree of selectivity is protective for children.

Some kids may instinctively avoid specific foods because they’ve learned that they don’t feel well after eating them.

Alternate Source of Nutrition

If your child doggedly refuses to drink milk, it may be because your little one might be lactose intolerant or has a mild allergy to dairy products.

You can still help your child with sufficient intake of calcium by offering dairy foods that are more easily digested and better tolerated by sensitive stomachs, like yogurt or cheese.

If your child refuses to eat broccoli or green beans because of their taste, that’s OK too—there is a whole spectrum of vegetables in your cold storage that can compensate for the required nutrition that your child needs at the time.

Introducing New Foods in a Subtle Manner

It’s a good idea to introduce new foods regularly, but at every meal or snack, you should always include at least one familiar item that you know your child likes.

By offering a new food, but not forcing your kid to eat it, you’re allowing to maintain freedom of choice while expanding your child’s dietary horizons.

If your child doesn’t like the new food, at least there’s something nutritious on the table that your child will eat, and you can take comfort in knowing that your loved one will not starve.

It also prevents you from having to jump up and prepare an additional dish that you know your kid likes. Giving in to requests or demands for “special” foods that aren’t on the menu is a bad habit to develop—both for you and your child.

Never Ever Bribe or Force-Feed

If your child refuses to eat the new foods and the old standby at a given meal, that’s fine. Parents should try to resist the temptation to bribe or beg their kids to eat, and they should never punish them for not eating.

After a less-than-successful meal, it’s generally best to wipe the slate clean and start over again at the next meal or snack.

New Foods

Being a picky eater, just because your child doesn’t like a particular food the first time around, it doesn’t mean the end of the matter forever.

It may take two, three, or even ten tries before your little one gets used to the new taste and texture. Kids are more willing to experiment with a new food when they know that they have the option of tasting it without eating it.

You can suggest that your child takes a tiny taste with the tip of their tongue, and let them know they don’t have to eat it if they don’t like the taste.

Regularly Assess Your Child’s Nutrition

It’s good to know that even if your child eats very little at a meal or for a day, they won’t go hungry or become malnourished as long as they regularly have a variety of healthy foods to choose from.

When you analyze your child’s diet, be sure to review the food intake over a period of several days, rather than just one meal or a single day.

Kids may not eat everything you want them to eat every day of the week, but with your consistent encouragement, they usually manage to build a complete and balanced diet over the course of a week.

Seek Pediatrician Advice

If you’re worried about your child’s appetite and eating behaviors, be sure to discuss your concerns with the pediatrician. If the doctor feels that your kid’s growing and gaining weight falls within an acceptable pattern, you can rest assured that your child is getting plenty to eat.

Conclusion

Coping with a picky eater can try the patience of any mom or dad, but in the grand scheme of things, finicky appetites rarely affect a child’s overall health.

With parents’ continued patience and persistence, plus a little tincture of time, even the pickiest kids will eventually expand their dietary horizons.

Citation

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Picky-Eaters.aspx
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948

Featured pic: https://www.freepik.com/photos/food

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Navjot Singh
I'm an independent healthcare analyst with a passion for exploring and researching overall well-being. From cutting-edge medications to time-tested traditions, I delve into various perspectives. My extensive analysis covers health, alternative treatments, nutrition, fitness, herbs, and parenting. Every write-up on Bloomposts is churned thoroughly from authentic & published mediums. My aim is to provide valuable information for those who seek it. Now, let's dive into the articles - I hope you find them enjoyable and valuable.
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