I have a little picky eater (who is 2 years old) at home whom I need to screw my head everyday to make her eat. It really does matters to figure out how to make them eat first instead of creating special menus for them. Surely they will run away without even tasting them. If we manage to solve the “how”, then only we can manage the kids friendly menus easily.
I would like to share about my ways to make my kid to have her meal every day.
What makes a kid a picky eater
There are several reasons what I think may lead to picky eaters.
- The choice of food is limited.
- Some parent cannot stop feeding them with milk. ( that is why they are not hungry!)
- The food is hard to chew.
- The food is bigger and hard to handle.
- The taste of the food which they do not like as their taste bud is sensitive. My kid does not like fish, she runs away when she sees fish.
How to avoid picky eaters
We may use some strategies. It may not work 100 percent for you but at least these are my experiences to be shared with you.
- Introduce variety of food to your kid when they reach 6 months old onward. What I did wrong is I only feed my child with limited choices, I.e cereal and porridge. When she grows a little bigger, I find her difficult to accept the kind of taste she has never tried before.
- Some of us like to separate our kid from eating together. Some of us even chase after the kid during meal times and take forever to finish the food. What I think is important to have our kid to have meal together with the family. It will trigger their curiosity about the food on the table and will eventually follow what we adults eat. Another way of getting them to eat is having a bunch of kids sitting and eating together. At least, there is some peer pressure.
- I was too afraid that my child may not be able to gain enough nutrients for herself if she does not eat solid food. I used to feed her a bottle of milk instead. It was totally wrong action. They will eat when they are hungry. Introduce food when they are really hungry.
- Some food is slightly bigger and it is hard to chew. Example it is better to choose chicken breast meat instead of chicken drum stick to make finger size food for them.
- Self feeding sometimes also create fun when eating too. This is the stage where they explore how to use fork and knife during self-feeding.
Menus for my kid
There are some tips on food preparation for my kid at home. I usually introduce the kind of food she hates most especially vegetable and “hide” them into other food that she likes. My kid likes to hold her food with hands. Therefore, I cut the food about a finger size which she can easily hold and eat. The below shows examples that she likes most are:
- Pancake mix with veggies, minced chicken meat and egg. Veggie can be anything from your fridge- carrot, cabbage, broccoli etc. Sometimes just pancake mix with oat.
- Steam or baked bun which is made of pumpkin or sweet potatoes.
- My kid loves to have soup. Therefore, I usually put meat n veggie in the soup and cook until the meat and veggie are soft.
- She likes noodles. Usually I buy those noodles contain carrot, spinach or pumpkin. I cook them until soft and add some seasoning, served dry.
- I give oat and nut cookies during her snack time. Yogurt and fruit are given in between her meal time. Apple and orange are the common fruits she loves. I am still working hard to let her try other local fruits as well.
- She just loves to eat bread, donuts and bun. You can make your own bread by adding sesame seed, chia seed, raisin, cranberries, nuts etc. I also make sandwiches with chopped veggie and minced meat. She loves it.
- She also loves fried food such as chicken nuggets. You may want to make your own chicken stick and deep-fried them. Give them occasionally.
Rice should be our main source of carbohydrate in Malaysia but unfortunately she does not like to eat rice. All the rice recipe I have in mind so far I tried still fail to make her eat.
You may have more choices than what I have here. Drop me a message to share your other choice of food that your kids do like. As my kid is very fussy in eating, It actually took me months to make her eat. She gets bored to the same food so I have to change her menu every day.
My kid will not accept new food until I have tried more than 10 times at different intervals. A lot of food and effort being wasted. However, when you see she starts eating those foods, every hardship is worth trying.