How to deal with fussy eating

Even though fussy eating is a phase, it can make daily life challenging for the whole family, with mealtimes feeling more like a battle ground! But helping children learn to eat well is important to ensure that they are getting the right balance of nutrients to grow and develop.

Helping children learn to eat well can be a difficult daily process, but it is important to ensure that they are getting a true balance of the right nutrients to grow up healthy, strong and smart. The following steps have been designed by a registered dietician to help children learn to enjoy healthy foods and develop healthy eating habits.

Six Steps to Happier Meal Times :

Step 1 : Manage Mealtime

Establish set meal and snack times to help your child understand hunger and fullness

  • Decide on a time range that each meal will be served daily
  • There should be two to four hours in between each meal or snack
  • Follow the schedule for two weeks and reassess accordingly

Set an eating schedule:

Breakfast7.30 to 8:30 AM
Snack10:30 to 11:00 AM
Lunch1:00 to 1:45 PM
Snack4:30 to 5:00 PM
Dinner8:00 to 8:45 PM

*Suggested Schedule

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Step 2: Choose Healthy Food

Make a list of food your family eats often. Circle two of these food items which you will serve at each meal / snack :

  • Fruits
  • Pulses
  • Vegetables
  • Fish
  • Whole cereals or grains
  • Milk products
  • Fresh meat or poultry
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Not highly processed foods (< 5 ingredients)
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Follow the pattern for minimum 2 weeks
Modify the textures of foods based on the child’s feeding skills (soft textures, soft finger foods, crunchy foods)

 

Step 3 : Create the “Family Table”

Start as soon as your child begins eating solid food

  • Sit together and eat as a family
  • Use a high chair
  • Eat as you feed your child
  • No comments about how your child eats
  • No pressure for child to take a bite of anything
  • Comment on what you like
  • Let your child make a mess
  • Control the chaos

Step 4 : Understand your child’s hunger signals

As you set meal times, pay attention to your child’s signs of being full or hungry

  • Pay attention to how the child behaves around mealtimes
  • Make sure your child is hungry before sitting down to each meal. Use “hunger prompts”. Ask your child before each meal if she is hungry and after the meal if she is full and then describe what hunger and fullness feel like
  • Children should be fed when they show signs of hunger and meals should end when they show signs of being full
  • It’s normal for children to prefer certain types of food over others. If your child rejects certain healthy foods, remain positive and keep trying to offer the healthy food
  • Try being flexible with timings of mealtimes to suit your child and their appetite
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Step 5 : Adopt a Responsive Feeding Style

  • Feed your child when he/she is hungry
  • Don’t’ make your child eat when he/she is full
  • Eat with your child and model good eating
  • Trust your child to eat as much as he/she needs
  • Talk positively with your child about food and eating
  • Establish set meal and snack times
  • Give nothing but water in between
  • Serve a variety of healthy food
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Step 6 : Consistently offer new food

At least once a day, offer your child a food he / she doesn’t eat or hasn’t tried before:

  • Put a small amount of new food on the plate
  • Make sure there are 1 or 2 food he / she likes on the plate as well
  • Do not pressurize your child to try the new food
  • Talk positively about all food on the plate

As with other behavioral issues, the approach for addressing feeding difficulties can differ among children. The amount of time it may take for a child to try new foods and overcome feeding issues will vary. Parents should work closely with their child’s healthcare professional to ensure that their plan is appropriate for the child’s health and well-being

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Get right nutrition advice for your kid to grow right.Call us on 1800 315 7173(toll free) for personalized nutrition counselling for your child.
*Adapted from http://www.fussyeaters.co.uk/media/5283/Abbott_6_Sure_Steps.pdf accessed as on 10/01/2016