Picky Eaters

As a mom, I have always faced the challenge of feeding my kids - first anything at all and then think about it being healthy. I can relate with parents who have picky eaters. My daughter would sit hours on the dining table with her food in front of her, with us asking her to eat nicely, then PickyEater
firmly and finally yell. I always felt guilty that she doesn't eat and that maybe I am not teaching her in the right manner. This was with my first child - everyone learns with experience and so did I. :)

I always look for ideas on what to cook and how to cook - so that my kids also love to enjoy food the way I do. I always thought that food, if its tasty, will be enjoyed by everyone but this doesn't work with kids. Kids are more into shapes and colors. Here are some of the tips that worked with my kids. You need to try different techniques to feed picky eaters and figure out what works for them.

1. Young children tend to eat only when they're hungry. If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack.

2. Don't give any juices / snack atleast an hour before meal time.

3. Eat breakfast for dinner - who says cereal or pancakes are only for breakfast?

4. Make it fun - Serve veggies and fruits with a favorite dip or sauce. My daughter loves the apple dips at McDonalds - thats what gave me this idea. Make pancakes in animal shapes - you needn't be precise but more or less is fine.

5. Sneak Vegetables - Add mashed veggies like spinach, carrots, cauliflower etc to the flour and make interesting things like puris / patties out of them.

6. Sneak Fruits - Add fruits to healthy desserts like fruit pudding (make custard and add fruits to it), banana split (banana toppped with flavored yoghurt and colored sprinkles).

6. Minimize distractions - Turn off the television during meals, and don't allow books or toys at the table.

7. Let them decide - Before I start cooking, I give them my options and let them decide what they would like for their meal that day. That way they are committed to eating that food.

8. As kids mature, they tend to become less and less picky about food. Still, everyone has food preferences. Don't expect your child to like everything.

9. Offer smaller portions through-out the day so that they never feel as though they have a lot to eat.

10. Don't let your concerns about her not eating become a power struggle.

Younger children are picky eaters, but as long as they are growing normally and are active, there is little to worry about. Most children do not eat a balanced diet each and every day, but over the course of a week or so their diet will get balanced.

For school going kids, breakfast and dinner is in your control but lunch is not. If your child has had a good breakfast and dinner, then it is okay if he hasn't had much at lunch.

Even if your child is not eating what you made for the rest of the family, its fine - just give something else healthy like cold cereal with milk or make it an all-fruit meal.

The ideas that I have put together here are not all but things that worked with my kids. I am sure all you moms out there have your own experiences. You can share them here if it worked with your kids.

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