I don’t have to say this out separately that as a mother, one of the main and most important event of the day happens to be making your child eat his meal and that too finish it all.
I think ever since I had my first daughter, my initial 3 years of motherhood have been consumed by this thought. The secret is, no matter what age they reach, they just DON’T EAT!!!
My second daughter is 3 now, the elder one is 9. I am sure that both of them have come to my life with the sole purpose of teaching me what a fussy eater is like. And I have learned.
And yes, as the mummy of two fussy eaters, I can now pat myself on the back to say that I have managed to use their fussiness and pickiness to turn them into curious eaters.
What you can do:
1. Let them explore. Ever since my kids showed an interest in shopping for fruits and vegetables with me, I realised it was a positive way for me to let them explore fresh ingredients on their own. From shopping for vegetables and fruits to picking spices. When you let them explore, they feel more connected to how the ingredient turns out on the table.
My younger one loves identifying vegetables and fruits and picking them up for me. Sometimes even telling me about a particular vegetable she would like to eat and I do buy that. The elder one is very interested in spices and loves to explore and find out how it will taste in a particular dish.
2. Give interesting options. Making the same type of food for meals over and over again can be tedious, not just for kids but even for adults. So it is only natural that adding variation is the key. Of course, with busy schedules it is not possible to dish out lavish meals each day.
What I try to do is to give them 2 or 3 options to choose from. I either plan out the next day’s meal with them in advance. Or I can make different dishes that I know they love. Then they can have some of it for lunch and the other one for dinner.
3. Turn regular meal times to buffet times. Like a good parent I have made my kids sit at the dining table and eat, but honestly, most of the time they get distracted when everything is already served. Instead, I have started encouraging them to eat as if they are at a buffet.
With the dishes laid out, so that they can pick as much as they want to eat. Of course, the rule is that they have to eat everything, even though the quantity can vary.
4. Spend time browsing world cuisine shows. Both my kids, I mean even the 3-year-old, absolutely love watching world cuisine shows, including local and Indian food. As we barely do any TV time, they choose to watch cooking and food shows over cartoons!
My elder one is already a super baker, and can whip out any flavour of cake single-handedly, right from scratch. The younger one can identify various types of ingredients and foods.
5. Involve them in the Process. From choosing the ingredients to planning the meal to even helping me out in the kitchen according to their age, when I involve my kids in the cooking process, they eventually are interested in eating what they helped prepare.
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