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Blessed are those parents whose kids love food and everything even remotely associated with eating! But for those parents who have fuzzy eaters at home, fixing a meal and making sure it reaches their tummy sure is a headache. 

Most kids have a very unhealthy attitude towards eating their veggies. But there are others that hate sources of protein like eggs or fish. Meal times can be particularly stressful for most parents, especially mothers. To finish what is on the plate, parents resort to a lot of shortcuts. Shortcuts include giving them some exciting option (including a sweet or a dessert after the meal). When nothing works, parents even resort to using pressure and coercion.

Mommy way Vs daddy way of feeding 

It is no news that dads tend to be a lot cooler than moms in their approach to feeding the tots.  Moms, on the other hand, are found to worry a lot more. They incessantly worry if the kids are getting sufficient nutrition if they are gaining enough weight and so on.  

Research has revealed that fathers are known to use persuasive methods to feed the kids. This is not driven by concern but as a result of more practical reasons like winding up meal times after a tiring day at work. Dads are unperturbed by the child’s fussy cries or even other expressions of dissent. Mother’s, on the other hand, find it difficult to look past the child’s cries or tantrums. They are easily disturbed and quick to give up.  Even when a child feigns a gag reflux, moms tend to go berserk, while these antics may not work with their dads.

Rewards - not a healthy approach at meal times

Offering incentives are not really the way to go when you want your child to eat healthily. Research conducted at Duke University Medical Center suggests that not only does this make a child develop an unhealthy attitude towards food, but it also has a chance of making them overweight, sometimes even anxious and depressed. Another drawback of the rewards method is that they tend to develop poor eating habits, like gobbling down a chunk of food with a glass of water. Some kids even resort to spitting out the food and later discreetly throwing it away or even feeding their pets for fear of being reprimanded. So what can we do to make meal-times more harmonious? Here are a few tips that might help you get through supper without gritting your teeth.

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Tips to make meal times a jolly affair 

  1. Take their inputs - Ask for their opinion in every process of meal-planning. Give them sensible options to choose from and make reasonable adjustments. Involve them in preparing the shopping lists and also deciding the meals.
  2. More involvement - Involve them in washing, chopping up and also cooking the meals. 
  3. Show your appreciation -  Be generous in your praises. Praise them for finishing their veggies or whatever is left on the plate. 
  4. Snack planning - Space the meals wisely. Avoid snacks too close to meals. 
  5. Eating together - Children mimic other children. So why not invite a few of their friends or their cousins over for a meal. But make sure you don’t compare them with others.
  6. Make the plating appealing - Play around and make the plate look more attractive. 
  7. Be more observant - If your kid loves the crunchiness of raw veggies instead of mushy cooked ones, make sure you serve them that! 
  8. Being shrewd is the way to go! - If you can’t get them to eat their greens. Be creative. Give your greens a makeover and make cutlets or patties in different shapes. The plates will be empty in no time.

Don’t stress too much, dear parents. If your child is active and healthy, chances are they are doing just fine. Keep reintroducing foods that they would reject. It is bound to click sometime. Keep doing your bit, minus the tension. Fussy eating is just a phase. They’ll outgrow it sooner than you think.