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10 Food-Related Problems Children Have and How to Solve Them

Many parents can relate and attest to the fact that very few kids are willing to eat anything that is served to them. They commonly go through a span of picky eating and present different difficulties when it comes to meals, which makes it a struggle. To help you tackle these issues, we have gathered 10 common problems and the best solutions to address them, assisting you to get through each family dinner or feeding the baby with ease.

1. Your child usually eats healthy food but now refuses certain foods

It is not the end of the world if your children decide not to eat a certain type of food for a certain period. “They will get past it,” states Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, a pediatrician, and nutritionist from the Medical College of Georgia. Meanwhile, until then, you can try the following: Encourage your kids to eat any kind of healthy food they enjoy during mealtimes - no matter if it is a carbohydrate or protein.

Make the most of snack time by providing healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, yogurt, or peanut butter. To make the yogurt more attractive, add some grains or pieces of fruit. You can attempt to give your children foods that they decline to eat in various presentations like slices of potato, chips, or kafir. 

2. Your baby eats solid food but won't drink formula

If your little one is eating solid food yet won't drink formula, you should visit the pediatrician and make sure your baby is developing properly. According to Dr. Bhatia, babies get energy from solid food, yet need either formula or breast milk until they are at least a year old to meet their nutritional requirements. He proposes offering formula to babies in a drinking cup specifically designed for small children as the novelty of this vessel may draw them in.
Starting at 6-9 months, you can let your little one drink from a cup featuring a character they adore. Encouraging them to drink formula from the cup is the key. If your efforts don't seem to be working, try offering it right before a meal instead of during or after. Even if your baby doesn't complete their formula at first, give them a bit more each day until they become familiar with it.

3. Your baby has no interest in solid foods

It isn't unusual for babies to spit out food after chewing, and it can be taxing for parents and create a lot of chaos in the kitchen. Why is this happening? Likely, your baby is not yet adjusted to the food you're providing them or the way it's cooked. Studies show that babies may need to taste a dish 10-15 times before they get accustomed to it and eat it properly, or they may just be trying to assert their independence.
If your little one keeps declining new food after 15 attempts, it is likely that they don't like the meal. Dr. Bhatia stated that if your baby keeps doing so, they are sending the message 'I don't like it, bring something else'. Continue to offer a wide range of dishes and observe the soups and flavors your child prefers. Furthermore, carry on providing some food with other different tastes and textures, so you can give your kid time to get used to them until they are ready to consume them correctly. Your child's food preferences will not allow you to prepare a single dish for the whole family.

4. Your child is particular about his food

A harried parent doesn't have the time to make separate meals for the family, but according to nutrition expert Joy Bauer from New York, it is perfectly acceptable to provide alternative offerings to those who don't want the main dish. She suggests simple, healthy alternatives such as soup, cereal, yogurt with fruit, or a sandwich with peanut butter. The priority should be that the child is eating, and it doesn't need to be what the rest of the family is having.

5. Your toddler doesn't eat meat

Toddlers can be very obstinate about a variety of matters, not only concerning food. Dr. Stephen Daniels from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Nutrition Committee remarks that disputes arise when parents presume that they know what food is suitable for their toddler. It is important to take a step back and remember that if the toddler is growing and developing in a healthy manner, he is good. They still obtain protein from other foods, even if the plate has less. If you have worries, you can increase the amount of protein consumed with peanut butter or different kinds of beans. Never yell or make a fuss when the toddler refuses to eat, as this will only make them not want to sit down to eat or cooperate at the table in the future. 

6. Your toddler snacks healthy but won't sit down for larger meals

Even if your toddler consumes relatively healthy snacks, they may not always be willing to have large meals.
Toddlers have comparatively smaller stomachs, so their hunger levels are lower than ours. However, the number of nutritious snacks they get should not be limited as they are an essential part of the day for the child. According to Bauer, having a snack between breakfast and lunch, and another between lunch and dinner is acceptable. If the child is munching on something all the time, it might be the reason why he is not taking any meal, and even though he may be nutritionally sound, you might want to teach him proper mealtime habits.
So what can be done? Focus on the frequency, quantity, and assortment of snacks you give to your child. Bauer proposes, for instance, offering the kid four crackers with peanut butter or some cheese with a bunch of grapes. She adds, "If your child claims to be hungry approximately one hour after eating such a snack, give him cut vegetables with a dip, then you will come to know if he is genuinely hungry or if he is eating out of routine".

7. The child's diet has a detrimental impact on his meals

As a parent or guardian, you must make a detailed list of food items that will be suitable for your kid to snack on throughout the day. For instance, dicing carrots or cucumber with dip or hummus can be excellent snacks that are not too filling. Here are several more pieces of advice from Dr. Bower:
  • Offer your children pieces of apple with peanut butter or almonds to munch on when they are famished after lunchtime.
  • Prevent foodstuffs that contain starch, which can overfill the stomach
  • Do not offer the child sweetened juice (with extra calories) between lunch and supper, and let them just drink water.

8. Your child is not ready for "adult" food items

Although baby food is not detrimental to your children, it does not provide them with the nutrients they need as they grow into toddlers. To identify why your kid is hesitant to try different foods, Dr. Bhatia recommends pondering whether it is an issue of flavor, texture, or maybe anxiety about something new. No matter the cause, you need to be patient and keep introducing different meals to your kid until they accept them. Eating the same dish as a family sometimes works like a charm. If it has become a big problem, it is advised to consult a doctor or even a child psychologist to address the issue.

9. Your child is only eating sweets

Cakes, cookies and sweets should not be part of your child's diet, says Dr. Daniels. It is enough to consume these foods once a week and no more than that. It is also important to note that using sweets as a reward after the child finishes an entire meal is also a bad idea. "It creates a situation where some foods - usually those that are less healthy - become even more attractive to the child," explains Dr. Daniels.

To address this problem, you must pay attention to your child's hunger signs and provide him with better quality food when he is hungry, but even before that you need to redefine what dessert is; Instead of sweets and cookies, offer fruit or a treat. Snacks such as pretzels and popcorn without additives or fruit smoothies can attract children just as much as other, less nutritious snacks. The transition to such healthy snacks will not be easy and will require you to be persistent and firm. It will be easier for you if you completely stop buying unhealthy snacks so that they are not at home at all.

If your little one does not even begin eating their meal without a reward or a treat they enjoy, don't make it a big deal. All you need to do is provide healthy food and your child will choose how much of it they will eat. Ultimately, hunger - not a sweet reward - is what will trigger them to eat.

10. You're breastfeeding but cannot change your bad diet habits

This is also seen as a nutritional issue for children, and, understandably, mothers struggle to arrange their meals in advance while they are taking care of the baby and breastfeeding. Bauer mentions that if you wait until you are hungry or when you have time to eat, you will grab whatever is accessible around you. To avoid this, take a few minutes to make a shopping list of nutritious meals and snacks for each meal of the day - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - and snacks in between.
Bauer recommends never going more than 4-5 hours without consuming a meal or snack. Meals don't have to be time-consuming; a quick breakfast could include cereal with a banana, lunch could be a whole wheat sandwich with chicken, carrots, and chips, and dinner could be fried fish with sweet potato and spinach. Additionally, make sure to drink plenty of water, as cleansing requires a lot of liquids. Some snack suggestions between meals are rice cakes, cheese, crackers, and fruit. After eating, indulging in a dessert such as ice cream is perfectly fine - don't forget that you are still eating for two.


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Related Topics: children, food, kids, nutrition, parenting, diet, eating
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