My child is a picky eater, what can I do?

Why is my son picky on food?

There are many reasons for children to be picky on food, examples are:

  1. Reluctant to eat new food.
  2. Dislike certain textures or tastes of food.
  3. Have unpleasant experience when eating in the past. For example, they may have been choked by vegetables before, making them not willing to eat vegetables
  4. Affected by others’ preferences.

What can I do to help my kid to eat different kinds of food?

Point 1: To provide more opportunities for your child to try different kinds of food, you can:

  • Provide more food choices for him to choose, including those he likes to eat and those he does not like to eat.
  • Put new food next to his favorite food.
  • Let him join the preparation process. You can buy and prepare food together with him, e.g. washing vegetables.
  • Try different cooking methods

Point 2: Be role model and eat different kinds of food together with your child.

There are some other reminders:

  • Do not let your child drink milk, juice or eat other foods within two hours before and after the meal. It ensures he has the appetite to have the meals and have interest in trying new foods.
  • Do not force him to eat.
  • Also, do not use junk foods or desserts to encourage him to eat more. If you do so, this will only make the situation worse

In fact, it is normal for children to have the picky eating stage. The situation will improve with time if the parents are patient to help their children and provide frequent chances for them to eat different kinds of food.

Will picky eating affect the health of my child?

Children may resist eating some kinds of food, but it does not mean that they will experience malnutrition. Parents can mark down what their children have eaten and evaluate their diet. If what they have eaten in a week’s time includes the five main classes in the food pyramid, that is, grains, vegetables, fruits, meat/eggs/beans and milk groups, and every class includes several types of food, parents need not be worried. However, if they refuse to eat or just eat a little amount of food in one of these classes (for example, they skip to eat meat and fish altogether), you need to be aware of the problem and seek assistance from health workers or dietitians.