From one Mum to another I can tell you we all want what’s best for our little ones, because a healthy child is a happy child. To give them the greatest start in life it is critical to ensure they are getting everything they need from their diet. Easier said that done right!
The screwed up nose, food thrown on the floor and the all mighty tantrums at the sight of a tomato! I hear you, and I’m here to help.
THE SOLUTION TO GETTING THE GOOD STUFF IN!
- Children thrive on routine. Try keeping main meals and snack times at roughly the same time each day. Children have a strong need for rituals and for what feels familiar whether it is a bedtime routine, meal time routine or using a favourite plate. Some form of daily routine may provide a picky, fussy eater with predictability and security.
- Children need to eat frequently to sustain their high energy levels and rapid growth so small but frequent nutrient dense “mini meals” may be best for picky, fussy kids. This approach will maintain optimum blood sugar levels and keep the grumpiness, pickiness and tantrums at bay. Every parent knows that a hungry child is generally not a happy or co-operative child.
- Children are very keen observers of what significant adults in their lives are doing. As well as parents, this will include grandparents, extended family members, family friends and even older brothers and sisters. Ask yourself:
- Do I eat regular meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner? If not, how can I expect my child to do so?
- Do I always eat healthy nutrient dense fresh foods? If not, how can I expect my child to?
- Do I pick at food and not eat particular vegetables? Your child will mimic this. If mum or dad is a picky eater and isn’t willing to eat the new foods, neither will the child.
- Where do I eat meals? In front of the TV? At the kitchen bench? On the run driving to work?
- Does my family sit together and enjoy the majority of breakfasts and evening meals together?
- Do I share the same meal as my child or do I expect them to eat something different?
- When it comes to healthy eating, the best thing you can do as a parent is to be a good role model.
- Don’t offer too much. A young child’s stomach is roughly just the size of their fist so serve small portions initially. They don’t need much to get full so may only want small amounts at a time but get hungry again quickly. Avoid empty calories. Don’t let your child fill up on high-sugar, processed foods.
- Finger foods are also popular and will allow a toddler some of their desired independence. We all know how independent a toddler is!
- At times children may prefer to drink rather than eat. Smoothies are a wonderful way to improve a picky eaters (and your own) nutrition. All sorts of things can be disguised in a drink so don’t despair!
- A frozen banana, Greek yoghurt, nuts, seeds, spinach, avocado & coconut milk is one combination. I also sneak in fish oil, probiotics and a scoop of protein.
The addition of a colourful straw or drinking cup will add to the fun and compliance. Any left overs can be frozen into wonderful ice block or “ice cream” snacks for hot summer days and after school.
Physiologically a child’s gut, brain and immune system are not yet fully developed. Their gut lining is still rather “leaky” and liver detoxification ability is not mature so children are not capable of handling toxins from foods or their environment effectively. This can have a significant impact on their overall health as well as mood and eating behaviour.
Of course the reasons why children may reject foods can be many and varied and will differ with each child. Try to understand the possible reasons for your child’s fussiness. Is it due to innate issues, due to particular habits being created around food initially or is there some other underlying condition?
If you would like a consultation with me to help you get to the bottom click the link HERE
Gina Rose xx
Reference: Feeding Picky Kids