Blue Strawberry

Nutrition, Food Science, Cooking….

Mango, Lunch and Picky Children…

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My colleague “Mango” invited me for lunch…

She has 3 little kids… 1.5 years… 3 years and 5 years of age…

The lunch was great… the food was delicious …
But, “Mango” was frustrated… continously shouting at her kids to eat their food…

You have picky children??? here it goes….

It’s normal to have your children picky with food…

Children between 1 and 3 years of age nudge at their food and this is normal due to growth and development reasons.

They may eat only fruits on Monday and only vegetables on Tuesday. Such eating habits are normal. Thus, it’s important to expect the child to eat well one day and eat nothing the next day.

Children from 1 to 3 years need approximately around 1000 – 1300 Kcal per day. But they might not eat this amount every day.

Accordingly, it is always recommended that children have a balanced diet over the week, not over a single day.

Here are some tips to encourage eating:

1) Give the food some playful names, names that the child is familiar with, for example:

Apples: Moons
Avocado: Boats
Banana: Wheels
Broccoli: Trees

2) Young children love dipping foods. Let them dip slices of apples, colored bell pepper pieces, carrots, broccoli in sauces
for examples:

Cream cheese
Fruit juice
Guacamole
Peanut butter
Pureed fruits or vegetables
Yogurt

3) Show them how to use a knife, a spoon etc. to spread cheese, labneh, peanut butter, fruit concentrates, vegetable concentrate onto toast, or bread; children love playing and spreading their food. The more they play with the unappealing food the more they’ll get to like it.

4) Let them help you prepare the food. Let them cut their sandwiches, vegetables, pizzas, fruits etc. into various shapes using children cookie cutters.

5) Plant a garden with your child: let the children help take care of the vegetables, fruits etc… wash and prepare them.

Important Remarks:

– Breakfast, lunch, and dinner have NO meaning to a child. If your Child wants to eat pizza in the morning or fruit and cereal in the evening let him/her go with it.
– Keep food servings small. A young child’s stomach is approximately the size of his fist.
– A hungry child is NOT a happy kid. Thus, be strict when possible, a hungry child will cry yet, when there’s nothing available he/she will end up eating (so don’t worry).
– A child taste preference depends on exposure. Children will prefer sweet tastes, salty taste, bitter taste etc. depending on what they were mostly exposed to during their first years of life. Thus try as much as possible to expose them to the healthy tastes and keep them away from the sweeties (Don’t add sugars/salts etc. to the food).
– Eat all together, children eat better when they see their parents eating.

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