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Little one with the age of 1 to 2 years are the smarter one. They are full of energy, they can differentiate colours, shapes and sizes, and they are mature enough to understand your facial expression, different emotions and the environment. They could try to make you happy when you are sad, angry or depress by making different facial expression or by some play like peek-a-boo or hide & seek or by laughing. They observe you very well and try to repeat the things you do or the way you do. They see world as a big scientific lab and love to see the reaction by mixing things. They love to repeat the things in which we give strong expressions. They understand what belongs to them and some doesn’t like to share with anyone. They are quite mature to understand if they share (chips or chocolates) what/ how much will remain with them. Their behaviour or way of reacting is completely environmental, whatever they see, they would react the same way. Every child is different and his physical or mental growth is different. There is no phenomenon to judge a normal growth, each one takes its own time to grow, to understand the things, to react to a particular thing. In this stage little ones learn many things especially what and how to eat. In this stage tough job comes for mother. Very rarely we find kids who is not fussy eater. Here are some points which helps every mother or care taker-
Things responsible for rejection of food by little ones
• Little one might be sick or feeling uneasy.
• Might be tired.
• Insufficient time for eating.
• Psychological disturbance.
• Absence of mother or father.
• Birth of sibling.
• Shifting to new place.
• To draw attention of parents.
• Diverted to play.
• Stressful environment.
• Nutritional deficiency.
• Unfavourable comments on food.
• Repetitive food, no variety.
• Food is not according to liking of the child.
• Non palatable.
• Not at right temperature.
• Snack taken just before the meal.
• Constipation or diarrhea.
What should a mother or care-taker do?
Include all five food groups in diet (cereal, pulses and legumes, milk and milk products and egg poultry and meat, fruits and vegetables, oil and sugar).
Give one kind of food at a time which helps you to count calories and easy to understand the likes and dislike of the child.
Mix vegetables with other food preparation which improves nutrient value of the food as well provides attractive colours.
Do not give raw food to kids it may chock or unhygienic, little cooking is required.
Let child play with some vegetables and fruits, make him understand the colour, shape, size, consistency and most importantly develop interest in food.
Give food which is palatable, easy to eat and digest.
Select fresh high quality fruits and vegetables, or meat.
Avoid overcooking, which may destroy heat sensitive nutrients.
A kid require 1000-1250 kcal per day/ those who have knowledge about food can understand how easily we can achieve the target. So don’t get panic if child is not eating.
Keep food at right temperature neither very not nor too cold.
Give milk every day.
Do not give too many food items in one meal.
Do not give dishes which have very strong taste or pungent favour, this may destroy the taste buds of the child or child may develop that particular taste and will refuse the other food.
Give boil veg with little butter and salt.
Give veg like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrot, beans, pumpkins, spinach, lattuce, cabbage, beetroot, bottle guard, tomatoes, and cabbage.
Include cereals like wheat, rice, brown rice, daliya, oats, corn, breads, poha, puffed rice, corn, popcorn, fortified cereals.
Pulses and legumes which are easy to digest like- moong dal, arhar dal, chana dal, mix dal, chhole, red beans, kidney beans.
Once a while outside meal is allowed but not often.
Include ghee and oils (coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil, palm oil).
Include some probiotics.
Keep the environment quiet and pleasant
Do not discuss stress or argument while feeding the child.
Do not show disinterest for food in front of child.
Do not react if child poop before, after or during the feed. (it happens, they are kids)
Do not feed, if you are in hurry, give this responsibility to someone else.
Do not force child to eat more.
If you are going out with kids feed them whatever they take and keep some handy food with you.
Do not engage them in other activities, play or divert their mind while feeding.
We all know about these things but when it comes to apply in our lives we sometimes go wrong. Please be careful from next time while dealing with a child especially during his/her meal time.
Do not hesitate to take help of others. (Mother, mother in law, friend, doctor or dietitian, a child specialist).