Picky eaters, chocolate and chip eaters, does that ring a bell? Health and studies are two of the important concerns of a mother. If your child is a picky eater then there is a big reason to worry. My 8 year old is a picky eater, in the sense the quantity he consumes is less and he is very particular with regards to food choices. I have tried and tested various methods to get him to eat his veggies and fishes. He is now on the borderline mark for the appropriate weight for his age, but I am relieved that he is getting a fair amount of nutrition from what he eats. Here are some of the methods I achieved results with.
· If you want your kid to understand nutrition, a “nutrition revolution” has to be beginning, the first step being taken by you. The whole family should focus on healthy eating. You have to make choices between your taste and your health. Let go off unhealthy cooking practices, stock your pantry with pulses, whole grains and fresh food. Include fruits and vegetables in your daily menu. Talk to them about nutrition and let them understand about healthy choices.
· Carrot sticks and green leaves are good snacks. But I wouldn’t be able to get my boy eat them. What I do instead is incorporate these ingredients into his favourite dishes. Add carrots and green peas to bhajis, spinach into cutlets, grated paneer to omelets etc. Experiment as you wish, my mother adds grated carrots to dosas.
· Snack and lunch boxes are another huge success for me. I give fruits for snacks at school, cut them into pieces and place a fork. Lunches with veggies or legumes or both. You don’t have to stick to a plan like giving rice or curds etc. The focus is on nutrition and not tradition.
· Having meals at fixed time is important. Never let them miss breakfast, lunch or dinner. If they are not hungry, have them eat a little. Get the whole family to eat together whenever possible. A big no to televisions during meal times. Family time is quality time.
· Snacking is inevitable especially when they are at home. Eating meals at fixed time reduces hunger at other times and you can avoid snacking to some extent. Get healthy snacks roasted nuts, fruits or fruit juices etc. Or you can make their favourite cutlets, samosas etc, healthy versions please.
· Another way for them to have fun and food is to organize food parties. Create hype about it days ahead, it will keep them excited. I guess it’s a way of having fun time with your kids too. We had burger parties, pizza parties etc, all home cooked. Allow them to invite a friend or two. We are planning on a barbecue night this weekend.Do let them indulge once in a while. Pastries, cookies, noodles etc. let them have fun...