Do you find yourself frustrated with your toddler’s food choices? Your child may want to eat pasta for one whole day; and only want to have milk the other day!
Well guess what you are not alone! Picky eating is a phase most toddlers go through. It is completely normal for young kids to reject foods they have never tried before or to ask for the same food over and over again. Nearly 1/3 of all young kids may have some kind of feeding challenges.
Before you start dwelling and feeling guilty about what you can do; let’s state the causes of picky eating:
GENETICS. From a genetic perspective; babies are born with preference for either sweet or salty taste.
ENVIRONMENTAL. There is a lot of excitement around the world of a toddler; where they prefer to play and explore more than sitting down to eat
PSYCHOSOCIAL. The type of interaction you have with your child influences his/her eating behavior. In other words, the more you force your child to eat, the more resistant he/she will be.
MEDICAL. Certain medical conditions such as food allergies or oral/motor skills problems may be the cause of the picky eating habit; consulting your pediatrician is key.
TEETHING. Your child may lose his/her appetite when teething and solid foods may cause him/her pain.
How serious can it be?
Picky eating can affect the overall nutrition and well-being of your child since compromised feeding can put him at risk of not receiving all the essential nutrients his/her body needs to grow and develop properly. Here are some of the potential risks:
- Lower body weight
- Weakened immunity
- Less energy
- Digestive health problems
- Compromised mental and visual development
So how can you make sure your picky eater gets his needed nutrition?
Here is what you can do if your child:
Eats too slowly
- Seat your child at the table and avoid distraction during mealtime. This means no toys and no TV
- Encourage self-feeding using utensils your child likes
- Create a calm, relaxed environment for eating
Eats very little
- Cut the food into bite-sized pieces
- Allow your child to see other children eating different foods; especially the ones he/she have rejected before
- You are your child’s first role model; so your child is more likely to eat the food that you eat with him
- Serve age-appropriate portions
Is not interested in food
- Offer smaller frequent meals during the day instead of 3 main meals
- Engage your child in grocery shopping and meal preparation
- Give your child the liberty of choosing his/her ingredients
- Don’t force feed to not trigger more rejection. Offer multiple choices so that your child can choose what he/she likes.
- Prepare dishes that are simple, plain, and recognizable. Some kids don’t like food that is mixed (like stew).
- Offer a new food many times- studies have shown that a child can refuse a certain food 8-15 times before accepting it
- Offer only one new food at a time. Serve something that you know your child likes along with the new food
- Give them a small taste at first and be patient with them. Eventually their taste buds will get used to the new and they will learn to enjoy it
- Many children eat better in a group of kids, so try to regularly invite your child’s friends over, or have lunch with relatives or neighbors.
Does not drink milk
- Be creative by using the cups and straws your child likes; be it a favorite color, shape or character
- Prepare delicious milkshakes as a snack by adding their favorite fruits to milk
- Dairy based desserts such as Mohallabiah, custard or Rez bi Halib can be a way of increasing their milk intake
Does not eat vegetables or fruits
- Try to sneak in some vegetables when making pizza or pasta sauce; include veggies like boiled carrots, celery, onion, cauliflower into the tomato sauce and mix it in the blender.
- Create a healthy breadcrumb mix and prepare vegetable baked sticks for your kids to enjoy as a healthy snack
- Jelly with fruits is another idea. Just make sure the fruits are small and in the Jelly not on top
- Prepare a tasty labneh or hummus dip for your kids to have with freshly cut vegetables
- Create shapes and characters out of vegetable and fruits to make them more appealing to your child
In addition to the tips provided above; ask your pediatrician about the newly formulated S-26 Promise PE Gold. A milk-based formula enriched with nutrients scientifically designed to support your picky eater’s nutrition, immunity, visual and cognitive development.
It is also fortified with optimized levels of 9 essential vitamins and minerals that may be inadequate in your picky eater’s diet:
2 glasses of S-26 Promise PE a day provide your child with:
|NUTRIENTS||Per 2 glasses||%RDA* TODDLERS (1-3)||%RDA* PRESCHOOLERS (4-8)|
|Vitamin A (mg RE)||400||100%||100%|
|Vitamin D (µg)||8||53%||53%|
|Vitamin E (mg TE)||4||67%||57%|
|Vitamin C (mg)||60.8||100%||100%|
For more information and tips, visit: https://www.pickyeatersarabia.com/en/