If meal time dramas are a common sight in your household, you are not alone.
Getting used to meal times, trying new foods, adjusting to unfamiliar textures and flavours is unsettling for many children, especially toddlers.
At the same time, preparing meals that are left uneaten and constantly having to cajole the picky one to take even one bite can be stressful for parents and caregivers.
Common complaints range from difficulty in introducing new foods to an aversion for certain types, especially green, leafy vegetables, as well as wholemeal varieties like brown rice and wholegrain breads.
Toddlers are resistant to the concept of trying new foods mainly because of fear. Pressure from parents and force feeding will only make things worse.
Other explanations could be organic causes like oral motor dysfunction which makes it difficult to swallow certain types of food; a gradual assertion of independence and wanting a say in what he eats; peer pressure which leads to choosiness; and perhaps a previous unpleasant experience like choking.
Getting your child to eat a variety of food is important to ensure a well-balanced diet and adequate nutrition. Unhealthy or improper eating habits that are not corrected will spill over to adulthood which becomes even harder to change.
However parents can take heart. Most children will grow out of this behaviour by the age of six.
Strategies to coax fussy eaters
Article contributed by Nutrition & Dietetics Department, Mount Alvernia Hospital.
For dietary consultation, please contact at (+65) 6347 6702.
To see a dietitian for an individualized consultation, a referral letter from a doctor is required.
Note : Please note that health information is provided to supplement the care provided by your doctor. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician if you have any questions regarding a medical condition.