10 ways to handle a picky eater

The article was professionally consulted with Master, Doctor Vu Quoc Anh - Pediatrician - Department of Pediatrics - Neonatology - Vinmec Danang International General Hospital.
Everyone knows that a healthy, varied diet is important for the growing bodies of young children. But if your child refuses every dish you have prepared, what will you do? Because besides the children who eat well, there are also many children who do not eat well.

1. Why are children picky eaters?

In fact, parents often worry about their child not eating well and that something is wrong with the child. However, between the ages of 1 and 5 years, it is completely normal for a child's need to decrease.
It seems that the child does not eat enough, is never hungry or refuses to eat unless you feed him himself. You don't need to worry too much about this, as long as the child is getting enough normal energy levels and he is growing according to his growth curve, he will be fine.
Parents always wonder, "Why doesn't the child eat?". Parents are used to babies gaining an average of 6.8kg in the first year, and between the ages of 1 and 5, babies only gain about 1.8-2.3kg a year.
Therefore, in 3-4 months you do not see the baby gain weight is also normal. After 1 year of age, the child does not grow as quickly, the child needs fewer calories, and the child seems to have a poor appetite. This phenomenon is called physiological anorexia.
How much a child eats is controlled by the appetite center in the brain. Children have been programmed to eat to meet their growth and energy needs. Many parents try to force their children to eat more than they need because they worry that anorexia could make them sick or malnourished. This isn't true, but it could be the other way around that force-feeding actually reduces a child's appetite by making mealtimes a punishment for them.
There are many children with this condition. Babies fall below the normal growth curve, and are always smaller than other children. So, when your child goes through a period of poor appetite, you really feel very uncomfortable, you just want to pick up a spoonful of food and put it in his mouth, but that's the wrong thing.
Your child's appetite will improve as he gets older and needs to eat more, usually around the time he starts kindergarten. You may even be surprised at how much your baby's food needs increase at this stage.
Trẻ biếng ăn
Có nhiều trẻ em gặp phải tình trạng kén ăn trong quá trình phát triển

2. Notes on how to handle children with poor appetite

First, trust your baby. Children usually eat as much as they like. The child's brain will make sure that the child eats enough calories for the body. These calories are provided from meals and snacks suitable for children. If the child feels hungry, he will eat. If he's not hungry, he won't eat, but he'll be fine, and he'll eat at the next meal. Even reminding children to eat or telling them to eat more will backfire.
Many parents give their children snacks throughout the day. This is not a wise choice. Children will eat so much junk food that they are never really hungry. Offer your child no more than two healthy snacks a day, such as a piece of fruit. Make sure snacks aren't a choking hazard size as toddlers and preschoolers are still at high risk of choking when stuffing certain things in their mouths.
If your child is thirsty between meals, give them water to drink. However, it is necessary to limit the amount of juice you give your child, preferably less than 180ml per day. Although juice is said to be healthy, it is high in pure sugar and provides many calories for children.
And you also need to limit low-fat milk to less than 480ml a day. Children should eat whole milk between the ages of 1 and 2 years old. Milk contains as many calories as most solid foods, and so drinking too much milk or juice can fill your child up and then leave him or her to eat nothing.
Parents of an anorexic child will tend to fill their spoons with food, smile and try to trick the child into eating them all. When children are old enough to use spoons, parents should never pick up spoons again. If the child is hungry, he will feed himself. Parents should focus on feeding their children. Children love to do whatever their parents are doing, so if they see you eating, they'll want to do it too.
Parents also need to make mealtimes pleasant and avoid turning children into a time for criticism or struggles for self-control. Don't talk about how much or how little your child eats in their presence, because that will backfire. Don't force your child to sit at the dinner table after the family has finished eating. This will only make them feel bad about themselves and mealtimes in general.
Parents who are worried that their child is not eating enough, and can go to some of the following: some wake the child in the middle of the night to feed them. Others give children snacks every hour of the day, and some try to make them feel guilty by talking about children starving in other countries or saying, “If you don't eat what I cooked, what will happen to you? That means I don't love you." But the most common mistake is holding a child's spoon and trying different ways to get food into his or her mouth.
The best way to deal with kids who don't eat is to teach them how to feed themselves. Let your child regulate his or her own feeding rate. Remember, your child will get through a period of poor feeding. Children are doing what naturally suits their bodies.
Trẻ biếng ăn
Cách tốt nhất để đối phó với những đứa trẻ kém ăn đó là dạy trẻ cách tự xúc ăn

3. How to handle children with poor appetite?

When you feel your child is anorexic, take a deep breath and check to see if the child is eating. If your child eats something on a regular basis, you can rest assured that he won't go hungry. However, this is not enough, because if this condition persists, the child may be deficient in some nutrients necessary for their own development.
Here are some ways to handle a child with poor appetite, recommended by nutritionists, and tested by parents.
Family meals: enjoy family meals together with children on a regular basis. Note that no media distractions like TV or cell phones are present during mealtime. Serve a meal for the whole family including children, preferably with foods children love. Don't force your child to eat: If your child refuses a meal, avoid forcing them to eat. Children learn to listen to their bodies and use hunger to stimulate them to eat. For example, if your child eats a large breakfast or lunch, he or she may not want to eat as much for the rest of the day. Parents are responsible for providing food and deciding how much food to eat. Forcing children to eat or punishing children if they do not eat can cause children to actively dislike foods that they may like. Do not tempt your child to eat with junk food: although it may be tempting, try not to bribe your child with junk food to eat other foods. This can make "prize" foods more enjoyable, and the food you want your child to eat feels like a chore. Try again and again: if just because a child refuses a certain food once, you should not give up. Continue to try new foods and foods that your child didn't like before. It can take up to 10 or more tastings before a baby's taste buds accept it. Scheduled meals and limited snacking can help ensure children feel hungry when a new food is introduced. Food variety: offer a variety of healthy foods, especially vegetables and fruits, and include higher protein foods like meat and fish at least twice a week. Help your child discover new flavors in foods. Try adding different herbs and spices to simple meals to make them taste better. To minimize waste, offer small amounts of a new food and wait at least a week or two before offering it again.
Đa dạng về thực phẩm
Cha mẹ có thể cho trẻ ăn nhiều loại thực phẩm lành mạnh, đặc biệt là rau và trái cây
Make Food Fun: Toddlers especially love trying foods arranged in creative, eye-catching ways. Make food look irresistible by arranging them into fun, colorful shapes that kids can recognize. Finger foods are also often harmful foods for toddlers. Cut solid foods into bite-sized pieces that your baby can easily eat, making sure the pieces are small enough to avoid the risk of choking. Involve your child in meal planning: let your child choose what fruits and vegetables to make for dinner or when going to the grocery store or farmer's market. Read together kid-friendly cookbooks and let them pick out new recipes to try. Little Chefs: Some cooking chores are perfect for toddlers like washing vegetables, stirring, counting ingredients, picking herbs fresh from the garden, etc. of course you still need to pay attention. when children do these tasks. Food bridging: once a food is approved, use what nutritionists call a "food bridge" to introduce others of a similar color, taste, and texture to help expand the variety in what your child will eat. For example, if your child likes pumpkin pie, try mashed sweet potatoes and then mashed carrots. Food combinations: try introducing foods or flavors that young children tend to dislike at first (like sour and bitter foods), with familiar foods they will like. (foods that taste sweet and salty). For example, combining broccoli (bitter) with grated cheese (salty) is a great combination for toddlers' taste buds.
In order to improve children's picky eating and anorexia, parents should supplement their children with supportive products containing lysine, essential micro-minerals and vitamins such as zinc, chromium, selenium, and B vitamins to help meet their needs. meet the nutritional needs of children. At the same time, these essential vitamins also support digestion, enhance nutrient absorption, help improve anorexia, and help children eat well. Parents can also apply dietary supplements and functional foods derived from nature for easy absorption by the baby. The most important thing is that the improvement of the baby's symptoms must take place over the long term. Combining many types of functional foods at the same time or changing many types in a short time can make the baby's digestive system unable to adapt and completely not good. Therefore, parents must be really persistent with their children and regularly visit the website vimec.com to update useful baby care information.

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Articles refer to sources: babycenter.com, healthcare.utah.edu, healthychildren.org
Bài viết này được viết cho người đọc tại Sài Gòn, Hà Nội, Hồ Chí Minh, Phú Quốc, Nha Trang, Hạ Long, Hải Phòng, Đà Nẵng.

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