Being a parent, how often did you hear the little ones say, “Yucks! It’s hard to eat! I don’t like meat or fish! ” Well, you are not the only one having to face the little “Picky Eaters.” Some shared their complaints about their children’s picky eating as a living joke:
“In addition to coaxing the kids to finish eating every night like a salesman, what else can I do…”
Picky eating is often the norm for toddlers as part of their growing up. However, there still environmental and cultural conditions that may shape the toddler preference for food. By understanding the factors, we can prevent our toddlers from becoming picky with food.
Family Eating Habits
Share a meal together as a family as often as you can. This means no media distractions like TV or cell phones at mealtime. Use this time to model healthy eating. Serve one meal for the whole family and resist the urge to make another meal if your child refuses what you’ve served. This only encourages picky eating. Try to include at least one food your child likes with each meal and continue to provide a balanced meal, whether she eats it or not.
“The mother’s preference for food during pregnancy and breastfeeding will affect the baby’s acceptance of food in the future.”, says Dr. Miles Fiss, an associate professor of nutrition. Through his research on 66 pairs of twins from 4 to 6 years old, studies have shown that 72% of children’s picky eaters are genetically inherited, and environmental influences cause the rest. Simply put, if parents are picky eaters, children are more likely to be picky eaters.
Failure To Give Proper Stimulation During Taste Development
Taste buds begin forming early in fetal development. It is known that babies prefer sweet tastes over sour or bitter tastes. Babies also show a strong preference for breast milk and breastfeeding, especially if they are breastfed and then offered formula or a bottle. The critical period of taste development is 4 to 6 months after birth. This is the best period to let your little ones experience the diverse types of tastes, from light to bold; from single to diverse. Provide the baby with rich flavors as much as possible to expand the range of taste perception.
A Form Of Self Protection
Some toddlers are willing to try out new food as they tend to be more curious. While tasting the food, they also hope to find an answer in the new food. On the flip side, for children who are sensitive and cautious by nature, they tend to treat unfamiliar food as a “monster” Not only do they don’t want to try, but they also become “fearful and repulsive” Some don’t even know how to eat it.
Want To Have Autonomy
Once the child’s “self-awareness” is awakened at the age of 2, he/she will begin to challenge parental authority. They will want to show signs that “I want to be independent”, “I want to decide by myself”, “I can eat whatever I want, don’t restrict me”. This is a struggle for the autonomy of eating. They will spit out the food they don’t like. In order to get them to eat, sometimes you want to take the initiative to eat.
May Be “Pseudo-Picky Eaters”
“Comprehensive Eating” should be their top priority for children. If the child is picky eaters, consider whether he has eaten something else before the meal.
In the TV series “Tiger Mom and Cat Dad”, Cici has been picking her favorite potatoes to eat, and not eating anything else. Her mother asked Cici to eat less potatoes and more vegetables, but Cici looked disgusted and kept on Say “I don’t eat, I want to eat potatoes”.
Finally, under the persuasion of her mother, Cici put the greens into her mouth, but she vomited it out without chewing twice. She wrinkled her face and said, “It’s so terrible.”
In fact, Cici went to grandma’s house with her father and had a big chicken drumstick before eating dinner. The fragrant chicken drumsticks are compared with the weak green vegetables. Of course, children like chicken drumsticks more. They will tend to choose what they like and eat a few more bites. This is actually a “pseudo-picky eater”.
Tips For Feeding Picky Eaters
Try To Breastfeed Often
According to research reports, breastfed children can accept a variety of flavors of food, because the child can perceive the mother’s “taste” from the milk, and gain the earliest experience of taste; The children who drank formula milk felt almost the same taste. Because they had no early experience with the taste, the children’s acceptance of different foods was not so high after adding complementary foods. In order to allow children to eat all the food in the future, mothers should choose to breastfeed more often.
Feed Your Toddler With Light Taste
Studies have found that children are naturally fond of sweet and salty taste, which can stimulate the taste buds and increase appetite. However, regular diet with bold taste will make the child’s crave for “heavier” taste. In the future they reject fiercely to food with bland taste. Therefore, while exposing your child to various taste, do keep taste light.
Avoid Monotonous Diet
Though the food for the child should be bland, that does not mean to stick to one kind of food. On the contrary, in order not to be picky eaters, a variety of foods are needed to stimulate the child’s taste buds. Specifically, children under 1-year-old should be exposed to more food types and tastes, so as to increase the degree of acceptance of different foods in the future.
Create Interest In Food They Dislike
Getting children interested in foods they don’t like is the most effective solution to picky eaters problem.
A study on children aged 3-4 provided a group of children with broccoli, carrots, spinach, and other foods that they usually don’t like to eat. The children were allowed to create creativity and allowed them to crush or crush these foods at will, using traditional handmade materials such as pompoms and sequins.
Later, the researchers found that the group of children who had played with food had more desire to eat broccoli and carrots.
Professional research tells us that children need to play with food! It’s not about wasting ingredients at will, but more fun to play, such as using the heart of cabbage to print roses and okra to draw small stars.
Lead By Example, Don’t Force
We all have been through this experience when you have no appetite for food but once you see what others are eating, you would like to try it. The same is true for your child. If you “hate” a certain food, the little ones will naturally pick up the behavior from you. Therefor always welcome any food in the presence of your child, so he/she won’t become a picky eater.
Don’t let eating become a painful thing, help your children develop good eating habits, so that the body can grow well!