Mum Hema Canchi Jauhari wrote: ‘I am facing a problem with my 3-year old. He does not like eating any solids. He drinks milk only in the night. Can you help me with some ideas to make him eat?’
Mum Sonal Pandey wrote: ‘My baby is 09 months old. Initially he took daal ka pani or mashed fruits, but these days he is not eating, not even taking water. He is only taking breast milk. I am really worried, could you suggest something please?’
Dad Dev Shukla wrote: ‘Please suggest me how to deal with my 10month old baby. She does not eat anything, she only picks up food to make a mess of it. I really don’t know what to do!’
Mum Farah Fairy wrote: ‘My baby is 10 months old. Since the last 4 months I am trying to give her formula milk but she always rejects it. She never sucks the nipple. I have tried giving her fresh milk but she rejects that too. I give her milk when she feels hungry, but she still won’t take the bottle. Please help.’ This was another problem faced in the SOS Mom forum and you may find this article helpful.
We shared these parent problems in our SOS Mom forum and here’s what most of the parents had to say from real experiences:
- Divert their mind through games, stories and immediately put the spoon of food inside the mouth. Don’t give big bites as baby may tend to choke if not interested in eating.
- Try some variations in food. If they are not interested in solids, go for healthy liquid options like soups, dal, or even variations in solids like idli mixed with paalak (spinach) puree, aaloo parantha, mixed vegetable parantha, paneer parantha, and other variations that include some ingredient that your baby likes to eat. Giving ghee and sugar paranthas is also a healthy way to get babies to eat and provide instant energy.
- Take some spinach, tomato, daal, rice and capsicum. Boil everything in a pressure cooker. Grind and add little salt. Give as a soup and you can even use this water to add to other dishes.
- Dip a badaam in a cup of water and keep overnight. Drain the water in the morning and crush the badaam to make a paste. Add a teaspoon of honey to the paste and give baby.
- Babies’ taste buds keep changing and developing. If they are not showing interest in a particular food, dont give up. Give it again next week and keep trying.
- Sometimes, changing the environment can be fun. Pack baby’s meal in a tiffin box and take baby out to the garden. You can try and make baby eat while playing and taking a walk.
- Mixed soups like carrot-potato-apple or bottlegourd-potato-onion are delicious and healthy. Try some variations too.
- Try giving meals in attractive cups and bowls with favourite characters. Play-act with food, make a spoon a play aeroplane with foodie passengers on them that baby will eat!
- Sometimes, its okay to take the help of favourite television shows and let baby eat while being distracted. However, make sure you’re not making this a practice as it may create problems later.
- Do not force feed baby. Yes, mommy knows best, but sometimes, babies do know when they are not able to take anymore.
- Its a great idea to have a common meal-time. Watching others eat, especially other kids, is a great way for making baby eat up too.
- Let others in the family make baby eat too. Sometimes, its good to bring a change in face. So let papa, grandparents, aunts, uncles take to the baby bowl too.
- Do not bribe to eat food.
- Talk to your kids while you make them eat. If they are younger, talk about things that interest them. If they are school-going, talk about what they did at school and other activities that interest them. Talk about daily routine and things that baby sees – like birds, animals, people etc.
- Letting baby eat from your own plate is a great way of encouraging your little one to eat and feel like a grown up.
- Start giving baby bites from the family pot. Avoid too much spice, but start on same meals as the family, after baby has crossed a certain age and doctor has advised it’s okay to start eating with others.
Parents who sent their valuable suggestions:
Komal Goenka, Neha Kulkarni-Chavan, Preeti Vyas Parashar, Alka Tayal, Shruthi Aasoori, Divya Sundaram, Ridhi Ashish Abrol, Jayashree Vijay Kumar, Dhanashree Ranade, Nisha SharmaDurbakula Lakshmi Sakuntala, Namrata Samel Dixit, N Mukesh Vyas, Minal Chatterjee, Rachita Yogesh, Poorva Ranjan
Whether you’re going on a road trip with baby, a small journey, throwing a party for the little ones, or simply want to give your kid something healthy to eat in between meals, finger foods are always quite a hit with parents, as they are non-messy, easy to eat and can also be used to include added nutrition to your kid’s diet.
We prepared a list of the top 10 finger foods that will not only make munching time less complicated, but will also try and pack in some nutrition, while being yummy:
- Baked potatoes: these are really easy to make. You can choose to put them in the oven for a few minutes and add some butter, black pepper and salt to it. tasty and healthy.
- Cheese slices: no extra effort, just get them out of the refrigerator and hand to your child on a plate. Delicious and healthy all at once.
- Rajma salad: if you’re cooking rajma (kidney beans) at home, just take out a portion of salted boiled rajma and add some chopped onions, lime juice and black pepper to it. this will not only taste delicious, it will also give your child some much needed energy.
- Grated carrots: Hand over a bowl of grated carrots to your little one as they play and munch.
- Open Sandwich: Just place some grated/chopped veggies on a piece of bread, add a slice of cheese and some ketchup and sprinkle a bit of salt. Toast one side slightly on the pan with butter. To make it easier, cut into smaller bite-sized pieces.
- Frozen green peas: Get them off the freezer, thaw and put in warm water. Drain, add salt and black pepper, and a dash of butter. Healthy tasty and quick.
- Biscuits with toppings: Unleash your creativity and turn those cookies and biscuits into healthy tastier bites. You can choose from a variety of healthy toppings.
- Spinach and Corn Sandwich: These are quick and easy to make, and almost all homes with a kid have a pack of corn in the fridge. So make good use of it and add a power-packed sandwich bite for your little one.
- Roti Rolls: Easy to make and to make it less messy, cut them up in smaller bite size portions.
- Fruit Salad: Toss up a salad with various fruits and add a dash of chaat masala and lime juice.
Yes, we know it’s quite a difficult task to get your baby to like these. But as parents, aren’t you always trying. Threats, reasoning, love, anger, orders – you try every single method to try and make sure that your child gets the adequate amount of vegetable and fruits in the daily diet. But mums, if your baby isn’t interested while eating these, or if your baby is eating vegetables only out of fear, chances are, it won’t really benefit your baby as much as it otherwise can.
There are a few ways that as parents you can try out with your kid at home, depending on whether your child is a baby, a toddler, a young child or a teenager. Try and use the methods that will best suit your baby and you:
One golden rule to remember is never to give up. Try introducing new flavours, even though your baby might constantly refuse. You never know when they will start developing a taste for it.
Plan out meals with your child. Sit and talk about what your baby would like to eat, and then try and see how creatively you can include vegetables in them.
Make fruits and vegetables a regular part of all your meals. If they are not part of the main meal, try and add them in as many dishes as you can – grated, chopped, diced, mashed, baked, steamed.
Make interesting smoothies, shakes and juices fresh at home.
Make breakfast healthier by adding fresh fruits to cornflakes, or using fruits or chopped vegetables in sandwiches, porridges, toasts, poha, idlis, dosas, paranthas.
Shop together with your kid for fruits and vegetables.
Place a plate of vegetables and fruits on the table and play an eat-the game. ‘Eat the vegetable that is great for eyes and a favourite of rabbits.’ Or, ‘Eat the vegetable that was Popeye’s favourite.’
Let your child participate in cooking. Ask them to help with vegetables (bursting the capsicum, cutting the spinach with a big baby scissor and so on). Get them to clean them up for you before they break or cut them.
Have a colour day at the meal table. For an orange-colour day, go for pumpkins and oranges, for a green day go for spinach, beans, lady fingers, cucumbers, grapes, sweet lime, guava, grapes and so on.
So what is a common phrase that almost all mothers all over the world are so used to hearing but wish they never had to hear? From a little tot to a hyper-active toddler, almost all of them will sometime or the other begin saying that very sentence that we so dread hearing – ‘I don’t want to eat!’
In the tiny tot stage they will show their displeasure by moving away from food, spitting it out, making faces, refusing to open their mouth no matter how much you cajole them. Well if you are thinking this is going to change miraculously once they reach the toddler age, you are in for a surprise, for no matter how grown up they will become, the problems related to eating will only escalate as the years pass. The only consolation is that, at this stage, you can at least fool them and still make them eat what you want them to, using devious means and some scheming. Who said being a parent was simple?
Ensuring that your child gets all the nutrition for proper growth and development is YOUR JOB and not the child’s. A baby is a baby, and that is how babies will behave, but as parents, we can certainly try and do some damage control.
There are many ways to sneak in nutrition in all that your baby has. Learn how:
1. If you’re making khichdi, make sure to put in lots of greens and vegetables.
2. Try and put crushed almonds in your baby’s food whenever you can, even in a dal or khichdi!
3. While making daal, soak in a spoon of daliya too. Also, many days, instead of cooking just one kind of daal, you can mix in different kinds of daal to make a mixed-daal. Not only will your baby get a new taste each day, it will be extra nutritious and you can add in some vegetables to up the health quotient.
4. If your child is fond of soups, use lots of vegetables/chicken and make a delicious soup at home, none of those off-the-shelf instant soups.
5. Make custard and include an assortment of fruits to mix with the custard.
6. Boil peas and corn together and sprinkle a little salt and lemon/butter and black pepper, and a healthy, filling and tasty evening snack is ready.
7. Dry-roast a little bhel (rice puffs) and mix it with corn-flakes, dried curry leaves, a little roasted cumin, salt, a dash of turmeric, some nuts and cut almonds and keep all this – a ready-to-munch snack filled with nutrition.
8. If your family has eggs, while making dosa and idli, you can mix some eggs in the same batter.
9. If your baby loves cheese and butter, which are a good source of energy and nutrition at this stage if given in the right amount, there’s nothing like making your child munch on cheese slices in between meals. Also try and include some form of fat, like ghee (clarified butter) or butter in your child’s meals.
10.Make yummy green soups for your little one using lots of green leafy vegetables cooked in delicious flavours.
12.Milk with chavanpraash/honey is something you can try giving your child. And during the rainy seasons or winters, you can make a warm glass of ginger milk and add a dash of turmeric, which is always good to prevent/cure ailments related to the throat.
13.If your child likes curd, just add a few slices of fruits or mix in some grated veggies and hand it over.
14.For those families that are non-vegetarian, adding fish, chicken, eggs are sure to add lots of protein to the daily meal. Not only can these be mixed into other dishes, they can be prepared as single dishes too. For those who do not prefer non-veg, substitute the same with paneer or soya.
We know meal times aren’t always the easiest times for parents, but some times, following a few simple basics can make it a little more practical, as well as easier-to-handle. Do tell us if you would like to add your own tips to the list we’re sharing here:
1. Don’t force or bribe your child to eat: We do this many times, trying to get out of a tricky situation by bribing our kids with something or the other, if only they will do what we want. ‘Finish your food, then you’ll get ice cream’ or ‘drink the milk, then we’ll go out for a pizza.’ Sounds familiar? Telling your child that you want them to eat a specific thing or finish off their plate just because it leads to a bigger treat will send the wrong signals to your child. Next time, when you want them to finish their food without a treat lined up, may lead to a lot of trouble.
2. Make mealtimes fun: Make mealtimes a fun time for the entire family. Meal times should ideally be a time when the entire family gathers around the table and talks about their day. Use this time to teach your children the importance of the various ingredients in their meal. Tell them interesting facts. Invent food games, get interesting cutlery,and make it a special part of your child’s day.
3. Eat well yourself, then lead your child by example: If you hand your child a bowl of daliya while you just finished a packet of chips, chances are, your child wouldn’t really want to go for the daliya. In all honesty, who would? If you want your child to eat healthy, you need to be the first one to do so. If you adopt healthy eating habits, very soon your child will pick up the same from you.
4. Encourage child participation in meal planning, preparation and clean-up: Go out for veggie shopping together, read the ingredients together with your child, plan about meal time and shop accordingly, ask your child to help you in the kitchen with chores that are okay for kids to do, let them clean the veggies and do simple tasks like popping the capsicum, shelling the peas and so on. Later, when you prepare a meal together and the family sits at the table to have the same, appreciate your child’s work and make them feel proud.
5. Back off for some time if meal times are becoming big issues: If you are constantly nagging and scolding your child to eat, chances are, your efforts may backfire, leading your kid to get more stubborn and refuse what you’re asking. Back off for some time, let your kid go ahead without you telling them what you eat. Once the situation is back to normal, explain your concerns.
6. Accept cravings as a phase that will pass: No one can survive on chips and cold drinks or ice-cream alone. If your child is fixated on chips, accept it as just a craving. If your little one suddenly only wants burger for meals, relax and understand that a random day or two of burger eating will not harm your child really. If you keep making an issue out of it, you’ll be giving undue importance to the whole thing, leading your child to do it more. Let it pass. Your little one will soon come back to normal eating habits.
7. Accept the fact that your child can have individual tastes and may not like what you like, and vice versa: Yes, what you may like and what your child may like in terms of food maybe complete opposites, but accept it as a fact and try to work around the same. See what kind of food and taste interests your child and make meals that have similar flavours.
8. Never give up on introducing your child to new foods and tastes, no matter how many tries it takes: Yes, your child won’t know if they like or hate something unless they try it. But sometimes it’s difficult to make them try out new food. Don’t force and don’t give up. Try and find innovative ways of introducing new ingredients in your child’s regular food, and very soon they may like what you serve.
9. If your child is a picky eater, give multi-vitamin supplements: It’s really okay to sometimes take outside help. If your child isn’t eating ‘properly’, don’t make it a matter of good/bad parenting. Don’t blame yourself. And don’t scold and blame your child for it either. Instead, get medical attention and give additional supplements as suggested by your child’s doctor.
10.Make sure you set the boundaries – as a parent, you decide what to eat and when. Your child can decide on the amount: You’re the parent, and even though you may be giving your child some amount of liberty when it comes to meal time, there are some areas that you just can’t let go. You know best what your child must absolutely eat, so make sure you make it pretty clear to your kid that there is no escaping this one. Having milk should be a part of your child’s daily routine (unless there’s any medical or other reasons) and you should be the one who should make sure there’s a set time that your child should know as milk time – like a glass at breakfast and one before going to bed (example).