Mums can often be heard complaining about one or more of their children being a fussy eater.
Lots of children go through a phase of being a fussy eater, but parents have to help them to get rid of this habit. Avoiding meals and eating junk food can actually lead to nutritional deficiency in young children. Kids need a balanced diet for their proper development. Parents have to make their kids understand the need to eat healthily and its impact on their future if they don’t. Here are some tips to help your child develop better eating habits.
1. Don’t let the child be your boss
You, as a parent, should set the rules for eating proper meals every day. Do not let your child have his way and eat unhealthy food. If your child shows little interest in eating, make it clear that you will not change the menu. Ask them to eat the food a little later or remain hungry. Do not offer junk food instead.
2. Don’t force your child to eat
Forceful feeding can actually make your child hate the food. Pushing the food inside your child’s mouth or reprimanding them will never help. Let them understand the importance of food. If you remain patient and gentle, slowly but surely most children will come round to your way of thinking.
3. Do not treat them with sweets for eating food
Children will get a wrong impression that they will be rewarded each time they eat their food. This should not be the case. If you want to serve a dessert, give it along with the food. Let your child have it if he likes it. Try to serve healthy desserts rather than a junk food.
You need to explain your child the importance of having a healthy diet. Simply forcing him to have dinner every day will not work. Tell them why they need to eat their food and what happens if they do not have it. Children have to understand the difference between healthy and junk food.
5. Serve a variety of new foods
Children often get bored of seeing the same food being served in the same style every day. If your child does not like a particular food, ask the reason behind it. Next time, make changes in the food and prepare them in a different way so that your child sees it as something different.
6. Make a healthy menu
Include a variety of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, eggs, meat, etc. in your weekly menus. Replace junk food with healthy options. Teach your child to love healthy food. Be creative and make the healthy food tastier and attractive so that kids do not ask for junk.
7. Do not keep junk food at home
If you keep unhealthy food at home, your child is bound to want to eat it. Therefore, the best option is not to bring any junk food to your home. Instead stock up with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits.
8. Follow what you preach
If you want your child to develop good eating habits, follow them yourself. Children learn by seeing and copying adults. You have to be your child’s role model. Never tell your child that you dislike a particular food. Let them taste it and decide for themselves.
The idea is to be patient and not to start a war with your child. Fighting and forcing them to eat will make your child stubborn. Talk to them and deal with the situation calmly. Your mature behaviour and continuous efforts should eventually help them to develop healthy eating habits!
by Kate Wilson