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How does a Child become a Picky Eater

how do children become picky eaters

Feeding & Nutrition

How does a Child become a Picky Eater

Photo by David Goehring

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 

Don’t create a picky eater by offering junk food

Don’t create a picky eater by offering junk 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

What to do when your child refuses a meal – watch this video post

Don't try to win your child over with junk food

Don’t try to win your child over with 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.

If you are feeding your child to feel good yourself – watch this video post

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

And if stay hungry until your child eats – watch this

Children reject food for several reasons

When children don’t eat they don’t want junk food

When children don’t eat they don’t want junk food

  • 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 

  1. Don’t allow desperation to grip you when your child does not eat the meal you offer
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Junk food stocked at home is an unnecessary temptation – avoid buying junk food when you shop.
  5. Don’t try to win over your child’s love and affection by offering junk food. It is an act of supreme selfishness.

Before you offer your child junk food – remember to watch this video post

It is not OK to eat just something at meals

It is not OK to eat just something at meals

Don’t buy junk food you will offer

Don’t buy junk food you will offer

 

Your Picky Eater picks what he picks because you are a willing provider

Remember “Behind every successful Picky Eater stands a Willing Provider”

Don't provide the junk food your Picky eater picks

Don’t provide the junk food your Picky eater picks

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. When your child refuses food for the body. Offer him food for the soul. Hug him, talk to him and listen to him

Is your child demanding junk food? Then you need the strategy described in this video post

If your child is a junk food addict – watch this video post

Comfort food is food available when your child is hungry

Comfort food is food available when your child is hungry

 

Do not substitute healthy food with junk food

Do not substitute healthy food with junk food

Offer healthy food all the time

Offer healthy food all the time

Eating only after your child eats is not a good idea

Eating only after your child eats is not a good idea

Never get angry when your child refuses to eat

Never get angry when your child refuses to eat

Remember Picky Eaters are not born – they are created by misplaced parental affection. Don’t create a Picky Eater.

You can never force your child to eat. Don’t even try!! Watch this video post

Is it possible to make your child like healthy food? Yes – with some innovative recipes and the tips from this video post

If you are the parent of a picky eater here are some recipes you may find useful Phulkos, Avocado ice cream and Pumpkin soup

Here’s what doctors who treat picky eaters recommend

Dr Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD is a practicing clinician and a Parenting and Wellness Consultant in Bangalore. She conducts Parenting Workshops at schools and corporates. Her workshops and consultations are aimed at hand holding parents through their parenting journey. Contact - 9611739400 and debmita.dutta@gmail.com

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