Fussy eating is a normal phenomenon faced by almost every parent. Suddenly, your child starts selective eating; he’ll only eat specific food depending on his mood and palate. Fussy eating is a part of children’s development. For fussy eating child, It’s a way of exploring his environment and asserting his independence. And it’s also because fussy eaters’ appetites go up and down depending on how much they’re growing and how active they are. Fussy eating is most common in toddler age group and 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.
Kids are not judgmental about new foods. Just because your child doesn’t like the typical peas and carrots, that does not mean that they 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, and may really 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 fussy eater in our recipes section.
Keep portions small.
Kids are small, so their plates look bigger in their eyes than yours. A big heaping of veggies is frightening to a little kid. A smaller, less intimidating portion is easier for them to consider eating. So try to keep there portion sizes of the meals smaller.
Iron rich food.
Some children may have iron deficiency which may affect their appetite. Hence, it is important 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. Fibre is another nutrient that kids obtain when they eat avocados. Fibre helps to keep the digestive system moving, which is a benefit for kids who are prone to constipation.
Broccoli is full of 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 kind of diet, equally for adults as well as kids.
Eggs are a complete protein food. They contain Omega 3 healthy fats which help in early brain development and improves memory.
The natural sweetness present in sweet potatoes make it a personal favorite of kids and it is also very rich in nutrient value, for which it can be considered as the proper healthy diet for fussy food eaters. Being rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C and B complex vitamins, iron and phosphorous, sweet potatoes prove to be excellent immunity boosters. They are also rich in fibre thus are good for digestion.
It is one of the best food to satisfy your sweet tooth. It is rich in proteins and consists of living organisms called probiotics that balance gastrointestinal flora.
Foods that should be avoided:
1. Instant noodles: Instant noodles like maggi, top ramen, etc. are very easy to prepare and these tasty ramen or noodles get ready to eat in a couple of minutes, but these donot add any nutritional value to the body, instead, it only adds refined flour in our body. The synthetic wax present in such noodles create 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, and as such to provide a balanced diet. Unlike noodles, it delivers carb and fiber to the body, essential for growing kids.
2. 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 and not much nutrition. It will only add more weight to your body. Instead of this, you can switch to daliya or muesli with milk and a handful of nuts sprinkled on the top. This will give you fiber with essential fatty acids and other essential nutrients.
3. Fruit Juice/ Packaged Juice: You may think that gulping down a glass of a preserved fruit juice is a great way to start your day, but they are mostly packed with sugar. Switch to a better idea have orange itself rather than juice. Whole fruit offers you all the vitamins and minerals, along with tummy-filling fiber that can help tame hunger pangs until lunch.
4. Pasta/White Pasta: Pasta/white bread is an empty calorie food as it is made from refined and 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), and multi-grain bread.
5. Diet Soda: Diet sodas are actually empty calorie as they contain only artificial sweeteners and no essential nutrients in it, which increases the risk of certain types of cancer. Instead of energizing yourself with such drinks, you can switch yourself to lemon water or coconut water.
6. Fat-free Foods: 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 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
1.BABY BANANA PANCAKES
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 bananas, 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
1.Dust the bananas in the 1/4 cup of flour to coat.
2.In a bowl, mix the batter by combining the 1 cup of flour with the egg and milk and sugar and whisking vigorously.
3.Heat a frying pan and 1/2 tsp olive oil.
4.Dip the banana disks in the batter and fry on each side until golden.
2. CEREAL BALLS
- 1 cup muesli
- 4 tbsp wheatgerm
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1-2 tbsp milk
1.In a food processor or blender, place the muesli and raisins and process for 30 seconds.
2.Add the honey and peanut butter and process for a further 30 seconds.
3.Test by rolling into a ball, if it doesn’t stay together slowly add a tablespoon or two of milk until you are able to roll it it into a ball.
4. Keep in an airtight container.
3. SPINACH & FETA CHEESE MUFFINS
- 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 and pepper to taste
1.Pre-heat the oven to 180c and line a muffin tin with 6 muffin cases.
2.Gently whisk the eggs in a large bowl and stir in the milk.
3.Mix in the grated feta cheese, spring onion, baby spinach and diced pepper.
4.Finally, add in the flour and crumble with vegetable stock and mix just enough until all the ingredients have combined.
5.Divide the mixture between the 6 muffin cases and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through (a skewer stuck into the middle should come out dry).