Day after day my daughter’s dinner menu looks like this: Macaroni dipping in tomato ketchup, cheesy burgers, etc. And on days when she doesn’t feel too hungry, a plain paratha! If you think food gets divided in sections on her plate, like some for veggies and some for fruits, you’re mistaken! No chance, at all. If you have a picky eater at home, you can understand my plight. At times, every bite feels like a battle.
Is forcing the way out? Not really. Attacking the problem head-on may not be the right solution. Here are 6 effective ways to deal with the situation:
Make dinner time a fun family time. Use the time to strike a conversation, play fun games or activities. One such game is asking each family member to tell everyone "what was the best thing that happened today?"
It is a trap! The more you react, the more difficult it gets to make them eat. Try to maintain your calm.
A set routine sets expectations and the body clock adjusts soon after. It helps to keep meal times shorter and stress-free.
Try and limit snacks and by dinner time your child will be all set to gobble up everything served to them.
Getting your child involved in creating the daily/weekly meal planner can get them more interested in meal time. Having them play with dough, creating shapes of a fish, star or dolls while you are making chapatis makes food look interesting to them. Giving interesting names to dishes has also proven to be useful. For instance, we call Dal ka Cheela, a Yellow Pizza!
A child needs to eat a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients necessary for growth and development. Let your child also know that healthy food includes a variety of fresh foods from the five food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and protein.
While giving your child a reward just for eating food may not be a good idea, rewarding them for trying a new food is definitely one! Don’t stop at just children! Have a weekly challenge for each member in the family to try out a food item that they haven't tried before!