NEW mothers often face difficulty feeding their children. Getting their picky children to eat can be a long process, especially if the child has a tendency to throw tantrums or run around to avoid taking that spoonful of rice. Whining, screaming and crying (by children) are all part of their food discovery.
To help them, MOB speaks to some mothers in the Klang Valley to find out how they handle their picky kids and get them to eat right. Here are their suggestions:
If your child does not like fruits and vegetables, make a fruit or vegetable puree and let the child dip his or her food in it. All you need to do is blend the vegetables, such as avocados, and present them as a sauce.
You could also get some yogurt or healthy cheese dips.
Alternatively, you can make toasties soldiers — toasted bread with cheese cut into strips – to be dipped in half-boiled egg. Even vegetables can be dipped in half-boiled egg for breakfast.
Make smoothies or juices
If you can’t get your child to eat carrots, try something fun by creating a juice out of the vegetable. Mix the carrot with oranges to mask the taste of carrots.
You can also make smoothies with fruits for them to try at home.
Cut into shapes
Sometimes the way your food looks makes a lot of difference. If your child does not like eating fruits, cut them into shapes to attract their attention.
Bananas can be cut and turned into wheels, broccoli can pass off as trees and carrots can be shaped as hearts.
Dress it up
Food can be made into beautiful art. Just like Japanese food art, try dressing up your child’s food. Start by making breakfast with waffles and strawberries.
Cut the waffle to resemble an ice cream cone and cut strawberries into smaller pieces and make them the topping. Be creative and search the Internet for simple food art ideas to ensure your child eats healthy.
Change it up
If your child does not like to eat raw vegetables, change the way you prepare your meal. Steam or stir fry the vegetables instead.
The same can be done with meat. If they do not like steamed chicken or fish, then cook it with sauces to enhance the taste.
Parents with picky eaters should get their neighbours to bring their children over for a play date. Your child can watch the other young ones munch on new food that they initially refused to eat. You can even try this with siblings.
Have a meal as a family and get the older or younger sibling to try a mushroom, for example, and let the picky child watch. Give it time, your child will eventually try it, too.
Get them involved
Get the children involved in preparing the meal for the day.
Take them to the grocery store to pick out ingredients, then allow them to help you in the kitchen. Your children will be proud of the meal they prepared together and would want to sample their masterpiece.
Do not force your child to eat something he or she does not like. Start small. Give them small portions of vegetables or fruits. Slowly but surely, they will come to like it.
Get a little bento box or plate with different compartments and put in a small portion of everything for your child to sample.
Children love listening to stories. When eating, try telling them a short story to distract them. Some parents choose to screen a cartoon on a tablet while their children eat. This helps keep them in their seats.
Alternatively, you can have fun while eating by playing a game with them, where the loser will have to take a bite out of the meal prepared. Make sure you win all rounds!
Hide the food
Some parents swear by camouflaging fruits in yogurt or in drinks to hiding vegetables in rice. This works for most.
To hide food your child dislikes, blend them into puree or slip a little vegetable underneath that spoon of rice you scoop.