- A worried mother reached out to get some advice on how to get her son to eat his healthy foods
- The mom explained that he throws it off his plate and she's concerned about what nutrients his body is getting
- Amber Mae Kelly, a registered dietitian, gave some invaluable advice for parents with picky eaters
"Hi. My five-year-old refuses to eat any fruits and vegetables. Every time I put them on his plate, he throws them off. He used to eat them when he was younger but now it's impossible. I need help. From a very worried mommy.”
Registered dietitian says it's normal for toddlers to push boundaries
Amber Mae Kelly is a registered dietitian and certified lactation consultant. She is also a mother to a 17-month-old and a 4.5-year-old old. She completed a BSc in microbiology and biochemistry, after which she completed a BSc in dietetics and a lactation consultancy certificate.
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Speaking to Briefly News, Amber calmed the mother's nerves by letting her know that what she is going through is completely normal.
“It is normal for toddlers and young children to push boundaries, as they exercise their independence. This usually peaks between 18 months and five years. It is also normal for children to not enjoy everything they eat, just as adults do not enjoy everything.
"If there are only a few foods in a food group that they don’t enjoy, this is acceptable as they can be substituted with another food in the same food group. However, when a whole food group is refused (eg. fruits/vegetables), then this can be a concern due to the nutrients that they will be missing.”
Tips for parents with fussy eaters
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Amber shared a list of amazing tips and tricks for parents with fussy eaters to try. She also suggested a good multivitamin to cover all bases and suggests consulting a professional if you are concerned about your child's health.
The dos list:
- Get your child involved - from the grocery shopping all the way to the cutting, cooking and preparation of the foods (at an age-appropriate level).
- Offer them choice – take them grocery shopping and ask them what fruits and vegetables they want to choose, or give them a choice between two options, for example, "Should we buy baby tomatoes or big tomatoes for dinner tonight?"
- To still allow independence, offer them choices at mealtimes or snacktimes, but not too many, for example, "Would you like a pear, apple or banana in your lunchbox?" As opposed to "What fruit would you like in your lunchbox?"
- If you have the space, start a vegetable garden at home, or even grow some on your windowsill, and have your child involved every step of the way. They are more likely to be excited and eat something that they have grown and harvested.
- Find books, music and TV shows that talk positively about fruits and vegetables, as often they portray these foods negatively.
- Talk to your child about why certain food groups are good for our body, for example, "Did you know that carrots are good for our eyes and can help us see in the dark?"
- Get creative with using cookie cutters or make shapes using the foods.
- Serve the foods that they don't enjoy separately from other foods, for example, in its own container or own section of the plate, and only serve a small portion so as not to let it be overwhelming
- Offer different forms of the food group. For fruit, you could offer dried fruit or fruit rolls. Fruit juice can be a source of vitamins; however, it should be limited and diluted with water.
- Persistence is key – keep exposing them to foods in these food groups.
The don’ts list:
- Don't prepare a separate meal for your child as this takes away the opportunity to try new foods.
- Never force, never bribe.
- Don't substitute uneaten food with another food.
- Try to find the positive things during mealtimes (non-food related) and praise them on those, like, "You are sitting so nicely."
- Hiding foods inside other foods should be a last resort as if your child notices, this can cause trust issues.
Disclaimer: Advice given in this article is general and is not the views of Briefly News. It is not intended to influence a reader's decisions. Readers are advised to seek professional help before making any decisions.
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Source: Briefly News