Smart meal planning ideas for the fussy eater
Cooking or planning meals for a fussy eater can be downright stressful. Most parents of picky eaters worry whether their child is getting enough nutrition for his or her age. A balanced meal is often a difficult task to achieve. Well, there is a solution at hand and that is to think about meal menus more creatively. Check out these smart ways of preparing a healthy meal for your fussy eater.
Try these ways to give healthy food to your kids:
It is challenging for any parent to include variety in a child's diet since introduction of a new food is not easy. The situation becomes worse with picky eaters who have a limited palate. So, making creative foods for kids is the right way to go.
- If you want your kids to try egg for the first time, try serving them in different, familiar shapes like hearts or stars, or try turning them into happy faces. Use cookie cutters if you want.
- If you want your kids to have veggies, mash them and introduce them in foods that they are already used to, like rice,
parathas, pasta, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, khichri, or other such snacks.
- Fruits can be cut into small, bite-sized pieces or can be given as home pressed juice, using only the fruit and no sugar or water. You can even give them fruits in the form of fruit milkshake, fruit custard, or fruit salad. These can serve as creative snacks for kids.
- Try making your child eat only when he is in a happy mood because there are chances that they will reject food when they are cranky.
- If your child does not like a particular kind of food, do not avoid giving it to them altogether. Understand your child’s tastes and serve the same food after some days in a different way.
- Always have your meals together as a family. Your child will pick up healthy eating habits from you.
- Innovation is the key to getting your kid attracted to healthy food. Cut veggies in different shapes every day and try adding more colour to the plate by combining veggies of different colours together, for example, cucumber, carrot sticks or rings, thinly sliced tomatoes etc.
- Give your child ample time to finish their meals. Encourage them to eat independently, even if they end up making a mess.
Creative ideas to introduce a balanced diet:
Children have small stomachs, but their nutrient requirements are quite high. Providing them with nutrient-dense foods is very important. Have a weekly menu plan to make creative food for toddlers. So, in this way, you can make sure that the same foods do not get repeated in the same week, and you are able to get variety in your child’s diet.
- Cereals and grains are energy giving foods and can be served in the form of whole wheat rotis, wraps and rolls, pasta loaded with veggies, or as pulses and rice combinations like idli, dosa, etc.
- Make vegetables and fruits a part of your child’s creative meals. Choose fresh ones over canned ones. These provide enough fibre to your kids to keep them full and aid in digestion too.
- Calcium and protein are obtained from milk, yoghurt and cheese. You can flavour them before serving to your kids. For example, add nuts and dates to milk, or make chocolate milk, or add berries to yoghurt.
- You can even add any seasonal fruit pieces to a glass of milk and make it more flavourful. The foods that you need to limit are fried foods, high fat foods, sweets and high sodium foods.
The trick with picky eaters is not stop trying. Most kids do get over this phase before they reach the age of 5 or 6. So load up on patience and try the above ideas to serve them the right amount of nutrients for their age.