Modern parents are more worried about the eating habits of their kids. Picky eating which is also known as selective eating disorder, fussy eating, or perseverative feeding disorder, is a universal eating problem. Fast foods promoted by commercialism and consumerism have badly affected the food habits of modern kids. Most of our kids are attracted by various ads that compel them to fill their stomachs with snacks and fast foods and they refuse to eat what is necessary for their health. But parents have to make them eat a balanced diet to be healthy.
Studies prove the increase of picky eaters
Recent survey by Global Speakers Bureau, a multi- disciplinary group of pediatric health care researchers convened by Abbott Nutrition, reveals that more than 80% of Indian mothers consider their children picky eaters. The study was conducted in eight countries, namely in Canada, Mexico, China, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia, involving about 3,000 mothers of children aged between and 10. The results reveal that more than 60% mothers in those countries had eating disorders like picky eating.
How to find out picky eaters?
1) Various factors including nutrient intake composition, the child’s weight, food volume and duration of food refusal can help the parents to find out the condition of picky eating habit among children.
2) Kids who are picky eaters tend to eat in small amounts, favor certain foods or avoid trying new foods.
Causes of picky eating
1) Struggle for autonomy and changing moods are the main reasons for picky eating.
2) Psychological factors such as appetite and genetics play an important role in this habit.
3) Another modern problem is the adverse interaction between the mother and child which forms as the root cause of this.
Consequences of picky eating
1) Studies at international level show that picky eating can lead to serious physical consequences, including growth complications and chronic illnesses.
2) Picky eating habit leads to increased risk of developing an eating disorder in later life.
3) It also may result in nutritional deficiencies which can also lead to social and emotional problems, such as aversion to touch, lethargy in life and disinterest in sports activities and learning.
Ten tips to manage this problem
1) Researches suggest a multifaceted approach to solve this problem. It needs to study the nutritional intake and behavior of the child.
2) Along with height and weight measures, it is important to watch the eating habits and moods of the child.
3) It is necessary to frame and follow certain ‘food rules’ to encourage the healthy eating habits. For example, you may avoid distraction during mealtime. Turn off the television during meals, and do not allow books or toys at the dining table.
4) Respect the appetite of your kid. It is quite essential not to pressure the child to eat. It should be handled carefully so that it may not create negative consequences.
5) Children should be encouraged to limit snacking. Duration of their meals time has to be limited.
6) New foods, necessary for balanced growth, have to be introduced gradually and regularly. Creative ways of introducing new foods along with favorites will do much help.
7) Appetite and hunger of the child should be watched before serving them meals. If your child is hungry, he or she may be more motivated to eat. Never think that your child will starve if he or she missed a meal.
8) The child may be encouraged to choose vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods at the grocery store. It will encourage eating healthy food.
9) Do not give your kid too much juice or drinks before meals. It may suppress your kid’s appetite and create further problems.
10) Never bribe your kid for eating. That goes back to food having more emotional power than it should and also will cause more problems down the line.