Fussy eaters – rings a bell?? In all honesty, all kids are fussy eaters at some stage in life. But being a fussy eater early in life is not helpful. A child’s early years pretty much count for the basic structure of the mind and body. Nutritional needs must be appropriately met in younger children, in order to have a strong body and a sharp mind for the rest of their lives. Like it or not, that responsibility is of the primary caretaker of the child – the mother, or father, or grandparents and helps, whatever the applicable case may be. An imbalanced set of nutrients can lead to an imbalanced method of growth, so grow right matters!
So, what are the essential nutrients a child needs?
Here is a quick checklist on all the items a child needs in his or her nutritional chart to score and have the right growth :
- Carbohydrates: Helps the body get the energy to do its tasks. It uses fat and protein to build cell tissue. Common Indian foods that have carbs are potatoes, bananas, rice, bread, and roti.
- Proteins: Proteins help build cells, break down energy from food, help carry oxygen and fight infections. Common food items rich in proteins are dals, rajma, beans, eggs, nuts, meat, and dairy products.
- Fats: Fats are considered ‘evil’, but the right kind of fats helps build cells and enhance brain functioning. Some common Indian food items rich in fat are ghee, butter, eggs, fish, nuts, whole dairy products, and other cooking oils.
- Calcium: Calcium is not just essential for bone health and teeth but also for blood clotting, nerve, muscle and heart function. Common foods that are rich in calcium are dairy products, sesame seeds, broccoli, spinach, and tofu.
- Iron: Iron is great to enable your cells to carry blood and maintains a healthy blood level in the body. Common food items that carry iron are meat, poultry, apples, whole grains, beans, and so on.
- Fiber: Fiber helps in the smooth functioning of the excretory system. Appropriate amounts of fiber in the body help clear out bowels better, maintaining good health and functioning of the body. Seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, and other grains are rich in fiber.
- Vitamins: Vitamins assist growth on many levels. Many vitamins play various roles like Vitamin A assists eye function, folate assists growth and immunity, Vitamin C fixes a cold and strengthens the walls of your blood vessels.
- Immunonutrinents: Immunonutrients are nutrients that have a direct effect on your immune system. These can be many depending on individual requirements but mostly comprise fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic ) glutamine, sulphur containing amino acids, anti-oxidants, arginine, and nucleotides. These are usually found in small quantities in food and may sometimes need supplementation.
- Probiotics: These help in maintaining appropriate health of the gut.
How to work on fussy eater’s food habits & ensure the right growth?
Here are some simple tips that can help you and your child overcome the phases of fussy eating.
Start with introducing new foods in tiny quantities. Do not make a whole new meal and force the child to it as it may make them averse to it
Do not completely give up if the food has been denied a few times. Sometimes it takes up to 15-20 tries before a child accepts a certain food. So, keep offering, but never force them to have it.
3. Use Positive Competition
Does the child have a sibling or a friend of a similar age? Motivate the child to imitate his sibling or friend in terms of eating habits. Try not to push too hard, just a “come on, we will share what Arin is eating. Let’s try one bite” should be fine.
Do not use sweets as rewards. “If you finish the gourd, we will have a bar of chocolate”!! By doing something like this, we only glorify the sweet and not the actual food that we want them to eat.
5. Mix, Match, Conquer
Little children have a huge capacity for acceptance. They usually do not know exact tastes of things, for example that a Dal must taste just like this or rice must just be white. So, puree and hide the vegetables and nutrients if required. Change their texture or appearance to make it appealing. Cutting food in stars, squares, or such shapes can also seem appealing to kids.
In order to fulfil their nutritional needs for the right growth, do not shy away from adding nutrition-based additives in their everyday meal. Additives like PediaSure that has DHA, added to their milk can be very beneficial. The yummy taste of the drink makes it a delight to drink. PediaSure fortified milk can be served warm or even as a milkshake, enhancing the versatility of the drink.
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PediaSure with DHA in your Child’s Milk
Children tend to be fussy eaters, but did you know that about 70-80% of their immune cells are in the digestive system? Poor nutrition can lead to bigger problems and hinder a child’s growth massively.
PediaSure is a health drink designed for children. The drink is fortified with 37 vital nutrients and has DHA – that aid in height and weight gain. These nutrients support immunity and enhance brain development, leading to better performance as life demands more from our tiny tots.
PediaSure has DHA, protein and provided a stronger nutritional foundation in a child’s growing years. From the bones, to mind, to physical growth – with visible growth in 90 days.
Fussy eating is not a permanent habit, but it can last a long while, affecting the overall growth and wellness of children. Ensuring appropriate nutrition in their growing years makes a huge difference.