Just like adults, children have their favorite food. Whether it’s bread and jam or a homemade pasta recipe, your child will develop a preference. But even though your little ones can eat what they enjoy, you should still monitor what they consume.
Over the years, your child may develop specific eating habits and food choices that may not be good for their health. While letting them indulge from time to time is acceptable, taking their diet lightly can take a toll on their overall wellness.
To prevent mealtime from becoming a struggle, you need to know why children become picky eaters and what you can do to help them out of it.
1. Sugar consumption
Excessive artificial sugar consumption is the easiest way to turn your child into a picky eater. Too much sweetened juice, cookies, candies, and other similar snacks too often will condition their preference for sweets, affecting their appetite during mealtimes. Setting the necessary limits will help you solve this issue while keeping other health complications at bay.
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2. Incorrectly prepared food
Before you start setting the meal table, double-check on the meal that you’re preparing. Whether it’s spoiled or raw, serving incorrectly prepared food can be very unpleasant for your child.
Always keep in mind that children tend to associate meals with experiences. If they eat a poorly made version of a particular dish, they may remember the bad taste or experience, discouraging them from eating that food again.
In case you prepared it correctly, but they still won’t eat it, try tweaking your recipe. Including your kids in the food preparation process will keep them curious about what you’re serving and give you an idea of the flavors they love.
3. Inconsistent mealtimes
One way to keep your children’s appetite consistent is to stick to a routine. Serving food at erratic intervals will cause irregularities in their hunger levels, causing them to snack excessively.
Since they don’t know when the right mealtimes are, they may snack right before you serve lunch or dinner. Setting a definite schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is the easy fix for this.
4. Power struggle
If your child rejects the meal you serve, don’t pressure them to eat it. Using your authority as a parent to motivate them may send the wrong message, which can be consequential in several ways. Not only will they develop a negative association with a dish, but it may also affect their relationship with you.
Unfortunately, a lot of parents tend to go for band-aid solutions when faced with this issue. Many end up bribing their children with dessert or preparing another meal to convince their children to eat. This practice rewards picky eating!
Try waiting for your child’s appetite to kick in. If they choose not to eat for lunch, there’s a high chance that they’ll be more engaged with the meal you’ve prepared for dinner. With this in mind, take advantage of this situation to serve new and healthy meals.
5. They have a genetic sensitivity to some foods
When it comes to food preference, genetics can also play a role with some children having a genetic sensitivity to particular kinds of food. One study that examined children ages 5 to 10 found that those who were more sensitive to bitter-tasting compounds preferred sweeter food.
As you create a meal plan, you should consider that your child may not experience tastes the same way you do. Experimenting with different flavors and communicating with your child will help you find the right flavors for their taste buds.
Help Your Kids Grow Strong and Healthy
Helping your child grow strong and healthy is a top priority. Unfortunately, many parents have trouble accomplishing this since children can be picky about food. As they develop their meal preferences, watching over what they consume and building the necessary habits will allow you to secure their short- and long-term wellness.
With this article as a guide, it should be much easier for you to make mealtimes more pleasant for the child. If you’re planning to switch up their diet, choosing better options is a must. As the No. 1 Milk Formula Brand in Europe, choosing HiPP Organic can provide solutions for nutrition gaps without added artificial sugars. Visit our online store today and browse our milk formula supplements.