Food preparation in itself may be difficult, but sometimes, it is more difficult to get children to eat the nutritious dishes prepared for them.
If only all children ate what their parents or guardians made for them, then there wouldn’t be any problem. In fact this is the case during a child’s first two years. But then one day, this same child who ate almost everything given to him or her starts rejecting food and saying “No.” The child gets more exposed to certain types of food; and after discovering the joys of sweets and hotdogs; he usually prefers these over healthier food options.
The same thing happens over and over again—and before you know it, your child has turned into a picky eater.
The term “picky eater” is one of the most frequently used terms by health professionals in characterizing the eating behavior of some children. In Filipino, these children are described as “mapili o maselan” when it comes to food.
Its most common identifiers are:
- The child consumes a limited number or an inadequate variety of food, and/or exhibits strong food preferences;
- The child is unwilling to try new food (food neophobia); and
- The child eats slowly, lacks interest, and/or does not eat enough.
Food acceptance or rejection may be based on the qualities of food such as taste, texture, appearance, smell, or temperature. In extreme cases, there are even times when entire food groups are avoided!
“Look, I prepared ice cream, chicken nuggets, and pizza for breakfast!”
Many parents come to rely on snacks eaten on the go, which tend to be salty, sweet, or otherwise unhealthy. At mealtimes, moms will provide "kid food," easy-to-prepare child-pleasers like ice cream, chicken nuggets, and pizza. Based on the 6th National Nutrition Survey, softdrinks top the list of the most commonly consumed item of 6 month – 5 year old children.
Reclaim Your Child’s Dietary Future
Clearly, there’s more to ‘picky eating’ than meets the eye—it represents potential health problems for your child, not only in the present, but also in the future.