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Sausages, pizzas, pasta, ice cream, cookies and chocolate, this seems to be the ideal menu for the picky eater who refuses to eat any other type of food. In the face of these behaviors, lunches and dinners become an ordeal and parents no longer know what to do. Why do some children behave this way? How to act and above all, what not to do if we have a fickle child with food?
Between 2 and 5 years it is normal for children to be fussy with food, refuse to eat mainly fruits, vegetables or fish and basically lean pasta, dairy or certain meat products. We explain why this happens and what we can do in these situations, in many cases really stressful for the whole family. Some reasons that explain the capricious behavior of some children regarding food are:
1. High sensitivity to certain flavors and textures. There are children who are extremely sensitive to the flavors, especially the bitterness of vegetables, and textures of some of the foods that we present to them. Recent research indicates that the rejection of bitter tastes responds to biological mechanisms, while sweet tastes are easier for children to accept. Fortunately the sense of taste evolves with age
2. Boredom with food. Some children get bored eating and meals go on forever. Many of them know that in the end the dish they don't want will probably end up being eaten by mom or dad and he can get up from the table and go play.
3. Self-assertive attitude. One way of telling us that when it comes to eating they are the ones who decide what, how and when.
4. Fear of new foods. The vast majority of children are neophobic, that is, children who are afraid of new foods and refuse to eat anything that they have not tried before or that has certain colors, such as the greens of vegetables.
5. Way to get our attention. The capricious behavior with food can also respond to a form of manipulation, a way of attracting our attention.
To eat well, and everything, you learn in the same way that you learn to read, write or ride a bike. As such learning requires time, perseverance and a lot of patience. Some children find it easier than others, some begin to eat everything without problems while others become prim from the first moment in which we introduce the ground food into their diet.
1. Involve children in shopping. Let your child accompany you shopping and put the fruits and vegetables in the bag, look at them, touch them and smell them.
2. Allow him to come into the kitchen and help you prepare meals. There is nothing children love more than going into the kitchen and helping us cook.
3. Promote healthy eating habits. Both lunch and dinner offers a variety of fruit, vegetables and fish. Avoid ready meals and industrial pastries.
4. Avoid distractions at meals: Turn off the TV, remove tablets, smartphones or any other type of toy, book or notebook.
5. Make meals a pleasant moment. Lunch or dinner time should be a relaxing time where family conversations flow.
6. Avoid arguing over food. If your child refuses to eat, avoid arguing with him, scolding him or punishing him.
7. Offer options. For example, in the dessert it allows you to choose between 2 or 3 types of fruit.
8. Reduce quantities. It is not necessary that you eat a whole plate of lentils, with which you eat a couple of tablespoons the first time you taste them, you have to congratulate you.
9. Avoid punishing or rewarding with some food. When we reward children with a certain dessert or punish them without it, we are sending the message that it is a precious food and that others are worthless. With this message in mind, it is normal that he then only lean towards chocolate or ice cream desserts and reject fruits.
10. Patience and perseverance. We all change our food preferences as we grow and learn, patience and perseverance are decisive in any learning process.
Some of these guidelines can help us overcome this phase, although two determining factors must be taken into account, such as the child's temperament and the way in which we deal with our child's whims. Both are key in the duration of this behavior and in the establishment of new eating habits.
You can read more articles similar to Picky eater kids, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.