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Five tips and tricks to help your child eat better

These few tips could help you get them to eat more food, explore new varieties without turning each meal into a battleground.

By Dr Khushboo Thakker Garodia

Children are known for their short attention span and are more curious about the world around them. And sometimes you could also have a very picky eater on your hands.

Being a parent comes with immense responsibilities and our children’s diet, nourishment and growth become a vital daily concern. For me, feeding both my kids well-balanced meals is something I try to achieve every day and, trust me, it’s not always easy.

These few tips could help you get them to eat more, explore new varieties without turning each meal into a battleground.

No power struggles, make peace

Let your child decide how much to eat. You get to decide what to feed them, but let your child decide how much. Avoid forced feedings and power struggles as all this will do is create negative associations that your child will form with food which will make every meal from then on a fight, which is the last thing you want. Let them learn to listen to their stomach, this goes a long way.

Limit the snacking

Allow a small, healthy snack in between meals (two total snacks daily), such as pieces of fruit, cheese, yogurt, etc. Kids who over-snack will not be hungry at mealtimes.

Change the presentation of a meal for picky eaters

My daughter suddenly stopped eating rotis, so I used a cookie-cutter and cut it in different shapes and that sparked her interest. The same meal cooked at home can be served differently so that the child may find it visually appealing.

How is the food served?

Yes, this is extremely important for children. We parents want our children to eat well, so sometimes we end up giving them bigger portions of food. To a child, this looks overwhelming. What you can do is serve appropriate portions, and allow them to ask for more. Avoid insisting that your child finish everything on the plate. What worked well for me was a cupcake/muffin tray – this way different foods go into different cups and it looks like they have been served a variety of food

Continue to introduce new foods

Your child may not touch any new food when introduced and that is alright. If you see, it takes about 10 to 20 times of seeing that new food on their plate repeatedly and even better if they see you eat it, before they will actually taste it. Don’t force them to try the food or insist they take a bite, just leave it on their plate and they will taste it when they are ready. The more you insist, the more they resist.

Your paediatrician will plot your child’s growth at every check-up as long; as the growth curve is right,  you got no fight!



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