At an early age growth potential is maximum. In fact a child gains 5 times increase in birth weight by age 5 and 2 times increase in height by age 4.Catch up growth is difficult if growth is affected in early age so fussy eating may impact overall growth.
Here are the 6 steps to smile away fussy eating:
Step 1-Manage meal time-establish set meal and snack times to help your child understand hunger and fullness. For example, breakfast to be given between 7.30 to 8.30am, snack between 19.30 am to 11 am, lunch 1 to 1.45 pm, and snack 4.30 to 5 pm and dinner 8 pm to 8.45.Nonthing but water to be given in between.
Step 2-chooose healthy food-plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole cereals, grains, pulses, fish, nuts and seeds
Step 3-choose the family table. Sit together and eat as a family.Use a high chair. Eat as you feed your child. Please praise your child and do not pressurize the child to take a bite of everything. Let your child make a mess. Do not put the TV on during eating.Parents should switch off their mobiles during meal times.
Step 4-understand your child’s hunger signals-Ask yourself, how do I know when my child is hungry and how do I know when my child is full. If you can’t answer these questions, watch your child around meals for a week. Feed your child when hungry and end meal when full.
Step 5-Adopt a responsive feeding style-Feed your child when hungry.Dont make your child eat when he/she is full. Eat with your child if you can . Trust your child to eat as much as he/she needs. Talk positively with your child about food and eating. Establish set meals and snack times. Give nothing but water in between. Serve a variety of food.
Step 6-consistently offer new food.at least once a day, offer your child a food he/she doesn’t eat or hasn’t tried before. Put a small amount of new food on the plate. Make sure there are 1 or 2 items food items he/she likes on the plate. Do not pressurize your child to try the new food. Talk positively about all food on the plate.