Here is an excerpt of my conversations with my friends here.
A: I don't know what else should I cook for my kids.
Me: Why? What's wrong?
A: They like to eat junk food. If possible, they want to eat fried chicken everyday. But I don't want to let that happen.
Me: Oh I see. Have you tried to cook a variety of food?
A: Well, I'm not really a good cook. So, I have a very limited skills in cooking. I've done what I could.
Me: Don't worry. You are not alone. I still consider myself an amateur cook.
Okay. Can you guess what the conversation was about?
(photo from google)
This is not a new topic. It's been discussed over and over. We can find some tips from parenting books, magazines or on the internet. BUT finding the tips that can really help is like finding a needle in a haystack! We can get so frustrated before we can even get our kids to eat again.
Let's see some of the tips to handle FUSSY/PICKY EATERS:
1. Respect your child's appetite — or lack of oneYoung children tend to eat only when they're hungry. If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack. Likewise, don't bribe or force your child to clean his or her plate. This may only ignite — or reinforce — a power struggle over food.
(I myself sometimes force my kids to finish their food because I don't like to see the food being wasted)
2. Stick to the routineServe meals and snacks at about the same times every day. Nix juice, milk and snacks for at least one hour before meals. If your child comes to the table hungry, he or she may be more motivated to eat.
(Oh no! I offer my kids some snacks while I'm preparing the dinner. )
3. Be patient with new foodsYoung children often touch or smell new foods, and may even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child may need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite. Encourage your child by talking about a food's color, shape, aroma and texture — not whether it tastes good.
(Sometimes it's so frustrating to cook the same food over and over again. huhu)
4. Make it funServe broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner.
(I've tried this technique but in the end they said "I want to eat sandwich like Suzy(my friend) did!")
5. Recruit your child's helpAt the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don't buy anything that you don't want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.
(Sometimes my kids love to come to the kitchen to help out)
6. Set a good exampleIf you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.
(Well, we are trying to be a good role model)
7. Be sneakyAdd chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups.
(Tell me about this! I've been doing this for every meal!)
8. Minimize distractionsTurn off the television during meals, and don't allow books or toys at the table.
(Yup. This is so true)
9. Don't offer dessert as a rewardWithholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which may only increase your child's desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week — or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.
(Haha. I guess this is why they seldom finish their lunch. They just want to eat the ice cream!)
10. Don't be a short order cookPreparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal may encourage your child's picky eating. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.
(I've never take orders as I tell them to eat the food or they aren't getting anything else)
Source: Taken from here.
I remember when I was growing up, preparing the meals for 8 kids was like a nightmare for my late mum. Even though she worked as a teacher, she still had time to prepare the meals for us. She cooked something for our lunch boxes and the lunch meal the night before. And she cooked dinner at 6 p.m. (we ate dinner at 8 p.m.). Sometimes when one or some of us refused to eat, she just said "You have to eat that or eat nothing else!". Then whether we like it or not, we had to eat.
Right now, I would say that my daughters are not really fussy but they do have their own preferences. It is a battle that I have to face everyday not to forget the fact of thinking and planning about meals.