Friday, November 7, 2008

The Parents' Challenge of Picky Eaters

I was invited by Jenny to join the Pinoy Parenting Blog Carnival on the Topic: " Picky Eaters". Thanks Jenny for the invitation and here is my entry.

Oftentimes we find it hard to feed our very young children. When my son was two years old, he hated veggies. I had a hard time forcing him to eat with a promise of a reward. I’m sure there are lots of parents out there, who are having the same problems. Vegetables and fruits are rich sources of fiber, vitamins, anti-oxidants and essential nutrients so they have to be included in your kid’s meals.

Here are some tips that I have learned from my experiences with my own children.

1. Always have some fruits on your table

It does not matter what fruit it is. Buy an attractive fruit holder and make certain it has always something in it. Buy banana, mango, oranges, apples, grapes and lemons and make them readily available, where they can easily reach out and get one.

But be certain to wash them thoroughly first. There is a certain harmful food color that some vendors use to heighten the fruit’s color, so you have to wash them well.

2. Prepare delicious shakes from these fruits

A carrot shake is delicious and nutritious at the same time. You can also prepare mango shake, avocado shake, etc. There are lots of fruits to choose from. You could also make ice candies from these fruits. As they became acquainted with the taste, you can introduce the freshly cut cubes of the fruit. Mixed it with some tube ice and you have a delicious dessert. No matter how you prepare it, what is important is that they should have at least three servings a day.

3. Present your child with a vegetable cuisine that would be visually attractive

Remember that the urge to eat is not only stimulated by our sense of taste and smell but also by our sense of sight. Cook assorted vegetables and arranged them in his plate in a manner that will encourage him to taste it.

Mix the veggies with egg or any flavor imparting condiments.
Eggplants that are boiled skinned and then friend with eggs are a great treat for children. In the Philippines, we call it “tortang talong”. You could also cook the usual mashed potatoes or French fries minus the Trans fat. Use vegetable fat instead. But be careful to read the labels of these products as not all follow the standard requirement by the FDA.

Photo by Savannah Grandfather

One serving of vegetables should be at least being eaten twice a day. The more vegetable intake, the healthier it would be.

4. Don’t feed your child with fast food junk, just so he will eat.

Recent studies showed that trans-fat the fat that they use to cook our burgers, French fries and hotdogs with is this type of fat. Trans fat is made up of bad fat which would increase our risk of coronary heart diseases.

They have promulgated laws now in the states regarding this Trans fats as they recognized the danger of this to people. In New York, they have passed a Trans fat ban and every food establishment is required to state in their labels whether the food they are serving have Trans fat or not, and the calories present in the food. Although the food chains protested as expected, the ban is still in place.

Almost all states have this ban in place. European nations are also now into the Trans fat war.

So don’t feed your children with fast food every time they want to eat. If you are forced to go to a fast food, select foods that are healthy, like salads, fish dishes and the like.

5. Allow him the option to choose his food whether potato veggies or tuna fish

This will give him some semblance of control. It helps to allow them some responsibility in choosing their food, but the choice should always be between two health foods.

Photo by C.P.Storm

Feeding a picky eater is a challenge that all parents should conquer.

In the end, couple your actions with love. Anything that you do, should be explained carefully to the child; that it is because you love him that you do that act. You should also explain why you are doing it. If he comes to know about the beneficial reasons, I’m sure he will concede.

Good luck and happy eating time with your child.


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