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A picky eater or a toddler who refuses to consume the food can be very frustrating for a parent. Being a parent you might have googled out of town for solutions, seemed advice from fellow mom, taken suggestion from your peers and yet you could find the result being the same. And I understand this completely because there are days where I see my lo is on hunger strike and I wonder how to offer food to him. I do have thoughts of giving junk too as long as a morsel goes in his mouth. But I guess the answer lies in our attitude. Yes you read it right, the way we behave has affects on a childs mind, body and soul and here are these 10 mistakes parents make while feeding food to their Kids that should be avoided.
MISTAKE 1. FORCE FEEDING
If you think forcing your kid to eat food will teach him to accept food then you are wrong. It is going to back fire really bad because he will start disliking meal time. My lo once did not eat any grain for 3 days because I was upset he was not eating and I forced him to eat khichdi and it became worse.
Solution : Don’t make a fuss about it. Leave the food with him and let him explore. If he is hungry he will have it or not take anything in his mouth. One meal rejected does not mean your child will be starving throughout the day.
MISTAKE 2 : NO MEAL PLANNING
Parents most of the time fall into the trap of short order cooking. This is basically out of fear that the child will reject the meal and ultimately they will have to offer something else. However, cooking on demand sends a wrong message.
Solution : Plan a meal where the kid can see at least one of his favorite food in it. He may not complete the entire plate but definitely will explore all the food you have served. Say for example your kid loves Dal rice. Try and make Palak Dal rice and get him to love greens
MISTAKE 3 : FINISHING THE PLATE
We were taught since childhood how important it is to not waste and finish off every bite in the plate. And since it is reinforced in our mind we expect a toddler to do the same.
Solution : Keep targets that will help you to help your child love food. Aim for 1 tbsp as per the age of the child for each dish that needs to be completed. Say for example a 2 year old should complete 2 tbsp of veggies, 2 tbsp of Dal, 2 tbsp of salad, 2 tbsp of rice etc and be satisfied with it.
MISTAKE 4 : IGNORING YOUR KIDS TASTE PREFERENCE
It is a surprising fact that toddlers have more taste buds than we do. So what may seem less spicy or less salty for us would be too spicy or too salty for them. I had not fed my lo salt till one year of age after I introduced our food he could not adjust to our salt consumption and hence rejected food. It took me a lot of time to understand his behavior but that’s when I realized he has his own taste buds too
Solution : Try and understand their taste preference. And the weird part is they keep changing their taste pallet depending on season, teething times, growth etc. Keep a check on their taste requirements and cook food matching their taste-buds
MISTAKE 5 : GIVING UP TOO SOON
Don’t assume that if a child rejected a food once, that he or she will never like it again. It takes about 20 times of exposing the child to one food to get them to like it. Do not remove the food from the child’s diet.
Solution : keep introducing the food time to time say every 20 days and allow him to explore. He may spit it out or may choose to eat it and make us feel lucky.
Kiaan never liked mangoes when the season started but when we had the last stash of mangoes before the rain began he ate it in a jiffy and we felt lucky.
MISTAKE 6 : FEEDING INAPPROPRIATE SNACK
Snack time is in a way a fun playtime that helps to improve the growth of the child. Instead of offering biscuits, candies or fried foods that are high in calories, give them to munch something nutritious
Solution : Plan out your snacks in advance on what interval you will offer fruits, proteins, dairy products etc and stick to it.
MISTAKE 7 : USING FOOD TO REWARD
It’s very much a parental attribute to reward a child for eating well. And rewards are generally in form of sugar loaded sweets or junk food because let’s face it, who does not like junk! Well it’s a big No No to reward a child to eat healthy. Eating healthy is not an accomplishment but a habit that we have to inculcate
Solution : Don’t reward your child for completing veggies. Always reward a child for good behavior and with non food products like a trip to park, bubble bath etc
MISTAKE 8 : BRIBING YOUR CHILD
Don’t you tell your kids, we will eat pizza on a Sunday only if you complete your veggies today or this week etc. It’s a wrong methodology to teach your child to eat. In fact the demands will keep increasing an there is never an end to it
Solution : follow the 80:20 rule in the house. Everyday serve 80% healthy meal and give into your child’s demand once a day. The idea is he needs to understand between good and junk. He will eventually understand the difference and not create a fuss or demand unhealthy food. On the contrary, he will be satisfied and you never know,he may surprise you by saying NO he does not want to eat the sweet and opt for healthy food.
So for example, if he demands a sweet after completing his meal than give it to him and let him feel good about it. But dont make it an everyday thing. You need to balance out when to say a yes or a no.
MISTAKE 9 : EATING INAPPROPRIATE IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILD
Most of the Parents tell kids not to eat junk but eat in front of them. You are setting a wrong example and the kid is ultimately going to throw a tantrum.
Solution : If you don’t want your kid to eat fatty food like chips, jams etc then you yourself say goodbye to it and stop getting it home. When you don’t have it in your kitchen shelf there is no question of tantrums taking place
MAKE 10 : EATING MEALS IN FRONT OF TV/MOBILE
I guess this one tops the list. Every person, a kid or an adult browses the phone or watches TV while eating. I won’t get into how harmful it is but we all are servants to digital media these days.
Solution : Meal time is a Gadget Detox time and all you have to do is laugh, play and enjoy good food with each other. So talk to them, sing rhymes and have some conversations.
So these were some 10 mistakes parents make while feeding food to their kids. You can be a smart parent and start working on your mistakes and make meal time fun rather than stressful. And also if you like this article you are to like my foodarts which i make for fussy eaters and i hope that can help you in plating food creatively for your child so he/she consumes the meal in a jiffy.
Blog Inspiration : Cookinglight
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