Ever tried wasabi? Or maybe sushi? Liked it the first time you tried it?
I don’t think so. All these foods have an acquired taste. Even after trying different flavours, for 25 or 30 years, we still do not like such foods immediately. Not just sushi or wasabi, most of us do not like to include salads in our daily diet, because they taste boring. Similarly, for a preschooler or a toddler, everything is an acquired taste, as every flavour is new to them. For almost an entire year their taste buds are accustomed to bland tastes of mother’s milk, milk powder & baby food. Getting them used to regular food is not an easy task. PATIENCE should be our mantra to feed a preschooler. Apart from patience, SMART FEEDING is very important. It all depends on, how you fool your kid into eating something, which actually doesn’t taste great but he/she thinks it will.
1. Presentation at its best! Make the container look colourful:
Kids like attractive stuff. Buy juice containers, sippers, & bowls which have colourful pictures on it. Use bright coloured ones like red, purple, dark blue, pink etc. & choose the ones which have pictures of their favourite cartoon characters or super heroes on them.
2. Sshh it’s a secret! Do not show them the quantity of food you’re giving them:
Kids do not like doing things for a long time. Their attention span is too less. Serving milk in a huge glass might make them think, it is going to take a lot of time to finish it. And they might avoid drinking it. If you think a small glass of milk will not be enough, give them the same amount twice a day, instead of giving them one huge glass at a time.
3. Variety is the spice of life, right? Make the item look interesting:
Do not give him plain milk. It not only tastes different but also doesn’t smell good. Try adding chocolate powder, or marshmallows, or any healthy milk beverage sold in the market. Instead of giving them plain dal, add something crunchy into it like (2 or 3) potato chips, or anything home-made with less oil in it.
4. It’s not about us! Do not give them spicy/too hot/too cold food which seem normal to us:
Most kids cannot eat spicy food. The first bite, or the first morsel they take, might scare them & they might not want to take another bite.
First impression has a lot of impact on kids. Even if you make the same dish less spicy, or less hot the next time, he would think, it is going to taste the same, like it tasted the first time. It is better that you take a bite, before feeding it to your kid.
5. Too much is too bad! Do not overfeed just because a dish is healthy:
If your kid likes a carrot & eats 2 carrots and is willing to eat more, do not overfeed him by letting him eat 2 more carrots.
Just because it is healthy, you should not encourage him to have the same fruit or same vegetable every day. He will be missing out on vitamins & proteins provided by other foods. Do not let him drink a lot of water while eating.
6. Be their best buddy! Eat along with them:
Kids love doing things which people around them are doing. Sit down with your kid & eat a salad. Even if it doesn’t taste good, make the happy face which gives them the feeling, that you are eating something yummy. Even if it tastes different to them, they might think it is yummy because, Mommy is eating it with a happy face. Making his toys, his lunch companion might also help.
7. Don’t like to clean up their puke, do you? Do not force feed:
If your kid doesn’t want to eat more than half an apple, do not feed him the rest of it till he throws up the other half which he ate willingly. They cannot build up any appetite in just one day.
Whatever little you feed, do it at the same time every day. We do not want our kids to have irregular eating habits, do we?
And finally, experiment with your kid’s likes. Just because the entire world drinks hot milk, it doesn’t mean your kid should like it that way. Try giving them cold milk. If they don’t like a raw beetroot, give them a boiled beetroot. If they don’t like a boiled egg, give them an omelette. Give them an orange, if they don’t like orange juice. Ultimately, every kid has a different appetite.
So, do not compete with fellow Mommies while feeding your kids.