Those who have seen my children before know that they are super skinny and sometimes I have comments saying that I do not feed my children well…
These comments hit me the most when my children were babies. They were born small and people around me would comment that I am a lousy mum and I am destroying my children’s health if they continue to be this skinny and not feeding them more.
As a mum, we all want to give the best to our children. Who doesn’t?
It was depressing to hear those comments and I felt like I was a failing mum. Fortunately for me, I managed to find other mums who understood how I felt and supported me for what I do.
Is never easy to feed picky eaters and my children were picky when they were young, especially my younger child. She will literally vomit everything out if she doesn’t like any of the purée given.
Like many mums, I was very worried that they were not getting nutrients they need to grow and thrive, but getting them to eat can feel like an uphill battle. Mealtime was stressful and unpleasant.
I went to the paediatricians, talking to several experts and did my own research to find ways to make mealtimes easier and more enjoyable for my children and myself.
Is amazing how implementing all these techniques have made my mealtimes with my children more enjoyable and no longer feeling stressful about it. Let me share with you what I have learned and implemented.
So take a deep breath, and let’s dive in together to explore the world of picky eaters and find ways to make feeding our children a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.
Understanding Picky Eating Behaviours
Firstly, we need to understand why the child is a picky eater as picky eating behaviour can be caused by various factors such as a lack of exposure to new foods, fear of new tastes and textures, or even sensory processing issues.
It’s important to keep in mind that picky eating is not just a preference, but a real behaviour that requires attention.
We need to understand our child’s picky eating habits as it can be helpful to observe his/her eating behaviours and identify patterns.
When it’s not necessary to visit a doctor
If your child
is healthy and growing well
still managed to get a balanced diet
does not have any health problems or nutritional deficiencies
Even though they are picky eaters, it is not necessary to visit a doctor.
When it may be necessary to visit a doctor
If your child
is suffering from weight loss or
is experiencing poor growth or
is experiencing persistent symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain or diarrhoea or
has sensory processing issues such as food allergies
That’s when you need to consult a doctor for professional insight and support in this case.
This short list can help you better understand and help you decide when to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a paediatrician or a registered dietitian, who can provide additional insight and support.
Proven Strategies for Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits
As a mother of 2 picky eaters, there were times that I felt like giving up hope. Luckily for me, I managed to find experts who are willing to share with me the different strategies that can help encourage healthy eating habits in even the fussiest of eaters. Here are 2 simple strategies on how to get picky eaters to eat or try new food.
Effective Strategy #1 – Get your child involves with meal preparation
Whenever I am about to prepare meals, I will ask my children to think about what to eat and get them to be my little assistants in preparing meals.
They love taking the ownership of their food choices and working on simple tasks like simple cutting, stirring or measuring ingredients. This one simple step can make a big difference.
While cooking, I will get them to taste test the food and they will be the judge of the day. They love it!
Effective Strategy #2 – Introduce new foods gradually and in a positive way
I used to insist my children try new food so that they have more varieties to choose from and receive more nutrients but it was a disaster. It made them resistant to trying new food since then and they hated me for that kind of behaviour towards them. Whenever they see new food, they will run!
So, don’t ever force your child to try new foods, but instead offer them as part of a meal and encourage your child to take a small taste. If they don’t want to try today, try again next time. Is not the end of the world if they don’t want to try. Life still moves on.
Slowly but surely, they will expand their palate and are more willing to try new foods in the future, which happened to my children now.
Every meal time, I will try to offer different varieties of food instead of serving the same type of food they prefer to eat. It made me become more creative as I tried to mix a dish with different vegetables or proteins or grains or even fruits.
I always remind myself that mealtimes should be enjoyable and stress-free. Eating should be enjoyable and not stressful. Who would like to eat in a stressful environment, right?
I stop pressuring my children to eat if they don’t like it but I do encourage them to try new food if there is any. Now, everyone is comfortable trying new foods and making healthy choices.
I have to warn, these strategies may take time and patience, but with persistence and a positive attitude, you can help your picky eater develop healthy eating habits for life.
Making meals fun with lunchboxes
When my children started going to school, I made sure that they eat healthily by packing nutritious food so that they will develop healthy eating habits even when no mommy is there to watch them.
But what should you put in that lunchbox? I’ve talked to some experts in nutrition and child development to get their top tips for creating lunch boxes that kids will love.
I love lunch boxes with different compartments so that I can pack a mix of different foods in their lunch boxes which may include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and/or protein.
I love making foods in fun and creative ways, such as cutting fruits and vegetables into fun shapes or using colourful containers.
At times, I will get my children involved in the lunch-packing process and ask them for their input on what foods they would like to see in their lunchbox. This way they feel more in charge of their meals, which increase their willingness to try new foods.
Preparing lunch boxes everyday was no easy feat as there were times we ran out of food ideas.
The experts suggested a range of options. For example, making wraps or sandwiches with whole grain bread, lean protein, and plenty of veggies, or we can pack individual portions of hummus, cheese, or yogurt for dipping. And don’t forget about fresh fruits and vegetables, which can be made more appealing with fun and creative presentations.
Overall, the key is to keep things fun and interesting, while still providing a balanced and nutritious meal. With a little creativity and implementing the tips from the experts, you can pack a lunchbox that your picky eater will look forward to eating every day.
Check out some of the creations I have made for my children’s lunch boxes here. What do you think?
Alrighty! I hope all these little tips and strategies that I’ve learned and worked for me will work for you too.
Just to tell you a little secret, I am a picky eater myself too! In fact, most of us are! Bet you have certain food that you avoid even until now.
Remember, your child’s picky eating habits are not a reflection of your parenting or your child’s character. The key to getting your child to eat healthily and nutritiously requires a lot of patience, understanding, and the right strategies.
Keep offering a variety of healthy options to your child. Today is not successful, try again tomorrow. Don’t give up!