Let’s face it, almost all kids are picky eater. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get your child to eat the food that you’re giving them. What’s a mom to do?
Forcing your kids to eat food sends the wrong message
According to a recent study conducted on college students, over 69% of them say that they were forced to eat a certain type of food that they disliked when they were young. Surprisingly, because of the fact that they were forced to eat the food, 72% of those respondents said that they would not willingly eat the food that they were forced to eat.
What this means is that forcing your kids to eat the food they don’t like is not the way to go about things.
Forcing them to eat food can also make them feel stressed, and they might relate the food to a negative experience, making things even worse when they grow up.
How to deal with picky eater toddler
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The important thing when it comes to feeding your child a new type of food, or a type of food that they don’t particularly like, would be to make it something familiar.
What you can do would be to give them a type of food that they’re used to, in addition to the food that they don’t like. You can try giving them a taste of the food they don’t like alternately with the food that they like.
That way, they’ll slowly become more familiar with the taste of the food, and in time, they’ll eventually learn to like the taste of the food that’s served to them.
Another key thing would be to mix things up. If you see that your kid loves pork adobo, but doesn’t like eating chicken, you can serve them Adobong Manok instead of Pork Adobo. It’s all about trying to give them options but still making the taste familiar to them.
Kids are pretty receptive to new things, though it’s important to not surprise them with strong tastes or something that’s out of their comfort zone. It’s all about finding a balance between new experiences and things that your kid is already familiar with.
Psychology of picky Eater
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Dr. Lee Gibson, a reader in biopsychology and director of the Clinical and Health Psychology Research Centre at the University of Roehampton, said that picky eating is normal in children.
According to an article by NBC News, a 2015 review of studies from the 1990s assessed kids’ eating patterns and found a connection between picky eating and personality traits, parental control at mealtime, social influences, and maternal eating patterns. Or at the very least, a kid just being a kid.
Thus, the best initial thing to do is to find the root cause so you can appropriately and properly address the concern.
In Psychology Today, Dana Blumberg, an occupational therapist in Livingston, NJ, has listed a few reasons why children can be picky eater. In a study she conducted, she first asked parents to make a list of all the meals that their child will consume.
The majority of parents report that their child will eat the same food over and over again before refusing. The reason being they got bored and started preferring another meal, and the cycle continues.
Based on Blumberg’s study, here are factors you can look into to know if your child is a picky eater:
1. Preference for a specific taste
Picky eaters have a strong preference for a specific brand/recipe and will notice even minor differences if the brand/recipe is changed. These small discrepancies can lead to food rejection.
2. Less flavor is better
Picky eaters also like to eat “clean,” which means they avoid seasonings and sauces. They may also prefer soft bread with butter, which are all moderate and predictable flavors.
3. Gastrointestinal issues
It’s also crucial to rule out gastrointestinal problems that could be causing strong food preferences by examining foods that cause discomfort like reflux or constipation.
You may also consult your doctor or nutritionist to help you prepare a meal plan essentially for your child. This way, she will be able to gain the ideal weight and nutrients for growth.
4. Oral motor strength
Blumberg stressed the importance of having the physical capacity and strength to chew and crunch foods that demand more force to break down. There are various textures and odors of food that can be preferred or disliked by children.
5. “Aversion” to color
Some youngsters have a strong dislike for foods of a particular color, such as green. In the study, Blumberg addressed this by bringing in green items and scattering them over the therapy area to help the youngster adjust to the color.
Parents are also requested to follow the same at home. The idea is to assist the child in undoing the aversion and learning to accept the color, which will have a positive impact on eating greens.
Is being choosy with food, related to a picky eater disorder?
Picky eating isn’t simply a stumbling block for toddlers. It can also occur in teens and adults. A very rare syndrome identified and linked to this is called avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).
In 2013, mental health professionals identified ARFID as an eating disorder. ARFID patients are significantly restricted in their food intake. They are unable to consume foods of a specific color, aroma, texture, or even brand name. Instead, they are limited to foods of a specific consistency. Low interest in food, worries of choking or vomiting, feeling full around mealtimes, and a reluctance to eat with others in social situations are all ARFID red signs.
Because of this, ARFID patients are not able to consume enough calories or nutrients. This can cause growth issues as well as zinc, iron, folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin C deficits. ARFID can also lead to:
- Cold intolerance
- Dizziness and fainting
- Sleeping problems
- Hair Loss
- Dry Skin
- Digestive problems
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Trouble with concentrating
- Rapid heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
ARFID can be treated in a variety of ways. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, appetite-stimulating and anxiety-reducing medications, hospitalization, and outpatient eating disorder programs are all possible treatments.
It is also significant for family members of people with ARFID to be involved in the treatments so they can properly assist their loved ones as they undergo treatment, even at home.
Why your baby will only eat fruit
Baby will only fruit, not vegetables? According to Julie Hammerstein, a famous nutritionist and health advisor for families, why your baby will only eat fruit is because they got accustomed to sweet tastes early on in life. This is even more reinforced when moms give their children, slices of fruit like bananas, strawberries, and apples as snacks.
Try to introduce vegetables to your baby early on rather than fruit since if you only offer fruit, you run the danger of encouraging your child to develop a sweet tooth and making the introduction of vegetables more difficult.
Despite the fact that fruit is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it is still important for our bodies to get the full complement of nutrients from a variety of vegetables.
For instance, some 25,000 phytonutrients, or plant nutrients, can be found in fruits and vegetables. Given that different colored vegetables contain different minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants, it is recommended that we eat a wide variety of vegetables in order to reap the benefits of the many varieties.
Eating a well-balanced diet that includes veggies also prepares your children for a number of healthy behaviors, including as physical activity, increased water consumption, moderation of sugar intake, and general awareness of what’s good for their bodies.
Can baby eat fruit everyday?
The recommended minimum for children is two servings of fruit each day. But as long as it doesn’t replace other nourishing foods in the diet, I suggest providing active and athletic kids an extra serving of fruit.
Fruit is categorized as one serving if it is less than a cup. Approximately equal amounts of fruit include one medium apple, banana, orange, or a pear; half a cup of berries; two small apricots, kiwis, or plums; one homemade smoothie popsicle; one medium-sized melon wedge; one cup of diced or canned fruit (without added sugar); or one and a half tablespoons of dried or freeze-dried fruit.
Change the snack to veggies once your child has finished their two to three daily portions of fruit. Include veggies in their snacks! Take a look at the following tips:
Smoothies benefit greatly from the addition of vegetables, as well as other nutrient-dense food groups including protein and healthy fats. By adding some spinach, beets, carrots, coconut milk, yogurt, and chia seeds in addition to the fruit, the nutritious content can be further boosted.
2. Make snacks or cook meals with your child
A meal that you and your child will both love making is the best method to introduce kids to a range of ingredients. Children can learn to accept new foods through exposure, practice, and role modeling. Children appreciate eating food that they helped prepare.
3. Grow veggies in your backyard
Kids may be inspired to eat more vegetables when they know how it’s grown, and have been a part of it. Children should be involved in every step of the process, including picking the plants to grow, preparing the soil, watering, weeding, and picking. You don’t even need a big piece of land. You can start off with growing herbs in jars and putting them on window sills.
4. Always have salads and veggie snacks ready
Maintaining some cut-up vegetable slices in the refrigerator at eye level serves as a powerful desensitizer and reminder for both children and adults when it’s time for a snack.
Decisions will become healthier and easier if unhealthy snacks are removed from the refrigerator and pantry since the eyes see what the stomach wants.
Food for extremely picky eaters
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Consider these tips while preparing food for extremely picky eater:
Don’t force your child into a meal.
Don’t impose a meal or snack on your child if he or she isn’t hungry. Don’t bribe or compel your youngster to eat certain meals or wipe his or her plate, either. A power struggle over food may spark your child to connect mealtime with anxiety and frustration. He or she may even become less attentive to hunger and fullness signs.
To prevent overloading your youngster, provide tiny quantities and allow him or her to autonomously request more.
If your child rejects the initial meal, preparing a separate meal for him or her may encourage fussy eating. Even if your child doesn’t eat, encourage him or her to sit at the table for the designated mealtime.
Be patient with introducing new food.
Young toddlers frequently touch and smell novel foods, and they may even put small pieces in their mouths and subsequently swallow them.
Before your child takes the first bite of a new meal, he or she may need to be exposed to it several times. Encourage your youngster by discussing the color, shape, aroma, and texture of a dish rather than if it tastes delicious.
Get creative with meals. Serve broccoli and other vegetables with a dip or sauce of your choice. You may also use cookie cutters to cut foods into various shapes.
During meals, turn off the television and other technological devices. This will assist your child in concentrating on his or her meal. Keep in mind that television commercials may influence your child’s desire for sugary or unhealthy foods.
Every day, provide meals and snacks at around the same time. If your child refuses to eat a meal, a regular snack time will provide an opportunity for him or her to eat healthy foods.
However, allowing your child to eat as much juice, milk, or snacks as he or she wants during the day may reduce his or her appetite for meals.
Consult your doctor
If you think you or your child is having trouble with picky eater disorder, consult your primary care physician immediately. He or she can help you rule out symptoms and concerns, and then guide you to the right solution and treatment.
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