Your child only loves roti-paratha and chicken, but will not touch the rice and vegetables. The foods on his plate must never, ever touch each other. You have to resort to bribes and even threats to get him to eat. Toddlers and young children are known to be picky-eaters. But how do you recognise a passing phase from a problem, if making them eat healthy is an everyday challenge? Let us debunk a few common myths surrounding the infamous picky eater:
Myth: He will grow out of it
Fact: Worried that your toddler is refusing to try new foods? It may be Neophobia - the reluctance to try new foods, which is typical in children aged between two and six. GI illness, reflux in infancy or a choking event can be some of the causes for food phobias in children. However, the real fear is still unknown. The fear may have a stronger hold on some kids than others, making them more likely to dodge certain foods. While selective eating could turn into a habit for a lifetime, it is possible for kids to outgrow this fear. You could slowly expose these foods to them by trying it out together with them and letting them know that the dish is your first as well. Pairing new foods with his old favourites might also do the trick.
Myth: She will eat when she’s hungry
Fact: Give up the thought that your kid is being difficult; the solution is to let her get hungry enough. It is unlikely that the child will eventually eat whatever you serve even if she is hungry. Sometimes, her eating might indicate deeper health issues. From subtle health concerns like acid reflux, constipation, teething, fatigue, it can extend to emotional problems like anxiety or depression. About three percent of kids suffer from severe selective eating disorders, to the extent that they can't eat out at a restaurant. Visiting a doctor to figure out the underlying cause of the problem is the foremost thing to do. Meanwhile, sneak in pureed vegetables and bland foods to keep her nourished and healthy.
Myth: She is a picky-eater, because she wants to be
Fact: Refusal of foods may usually seem as defiance to parents, but according to research, vegetables can have a metallic taste to certain picky-eaters. It can either be a biological reaction or a deficiency of zinc in your kid’s body, making the foods unpalatable. Picky eating can also be caused by a sensory integration issue, in which your kid is hypersensitive to certain smells, tastes and textures in her mouth. You could improve her habits using interesting games, fun names and a fine presentation.
Taking the time to tune in to your child’s problems can help change your attitude from confrontational to understanding, which means less dinner-time tension. Go one step at a time to help your fussy eater develop a wholesome culinary taste in life.