Feeding & Nutrition
How does a Child become a Picky Eater
Are children born Picky Eaters? No they are not! Every baby is born a healthy eater. Then what happens as babies turn into toddlers? How does a child turn into a Picky Eater?
When you wean a baby from breast milk to solids – he eagerly takes to the healthy food offered. A hungry six month old will never point to a packet of junk food lying on the shelf when he is offered a healthy mix of dal, rice, vegetables and ghee.
Your baby may look curious and suspicious at first when he is offered solids . He may be reluctant to try what is offered. He may even outright reject what is offered on the spoon. But the one thing he will never do – is ask for the food you are offering to be replaced by junk food.
Then what is it that will turn your child turn into a picky eater?
Your child will turn into a Picky Eater when you begin to express your love through food
When you express your love through food – and your child refuses to eat the food – you feel like your love has been rejected.
Rejection is an extremely unpleasant feeling. Rejection makes you desperate. It makes you desperate to do whatever you can to be accepted. And in your desperation then – you offer junk food
You may have put hours of hard work into putting together the food that you are offering. Remember your child doesn’t know that. So don’t read too much into his rejection of the food you are offering. If you are feeling upset because your child did not eat – watch this video post
Your child is not rejecting your food in an attempt to belittle your hard work.
You may be overcome by the guilt of not doing anything worthwhile for your child because you were away at work all day. But don’t try to assuage your guilt by offering food.
When you have several hours of separation weighing on your conscience –
you will feel miserable if you offer your love in the form of food and it is rejected by your child
Children reject food for several reasons
- Your child may reject food because he is not hungry.
- When you offer a new food – your child may reject the food because it is unfamiliar.
- Boredom may be another reason for rejecting a food.
But a child will never reject a food because he disapproves of you.
If your child is a Picky eater – here is what you shouldn’t do
- Don’t allow desperation to grip you when your child does not eat the meal you offer
- Don’t focus on the eating and say “OK – eat SOMETHING” and offer junk food. Remember that children need healthy nutritious food. Feeding them “Something” does more harm than good
- Don’t abandon the meal to make instant noodles. Don’t agree to serve sugary breakfast cereal. Don’t sprinkle spicy snacks to mask the taste of food
- Junk food stocked at home is an unnecessary temptation – avoid buying junk food when you shop.
- Don’t try to win over your child’s love and affection by offering junk food. It is an act of supreme selfishness.
Your Picky Eater picks what he picks because you are a willing provider
Remember “Behind every successful Picky Eater stands a Willing Provider”
If you want a child with healthy eating habits – here is what you should do
Serve your child the same food that the rest of the family is eating at a meal.
- Allow your child to build a familiarity and comfort level with the food that you serve at home at every day meals. It is important to remember – that what is familiar and available when children are hungry – becomes their comfort food.
- Remember that when you provide a substitute to healthy food you are creating a rift in the relationship that your child is building with healthy food. It is up to you to encourage that relationship. Invest in relationship building with healthy food it will fetch you rich dividends.
- If you are hungry – start eating. Relish the food you are eating. As your child watches you hungrily gobble down the food – he will begin to feel hungry too. Don’t feel guilty about eating because you haven’t fed your child yet.
- When your child refuses food for the body. Offer him food for the soul. Hug him, talk to him and listen to him
Remember Picky Eaters are not born – they are created by misplaced parental affection. Don’t create a Picky Eater.