Because July is Nutrition Month, I’m sharing with you some tips I learned on how to handle picky eaters, thanks to food supplement Appebon and Dr. Florianne Feliza-Valdez, Pediatrician and Director of the Center for Patient and Partnership of The Medical City
I was a picky eater growing up. I hated vegetables, didn’t like to drink milk. The only fish I liked to eat were milkfish and tuna. I didn’t eat my required daily dose of fruits.
The good thing was, growing up I rarely ate junk food. So in a way, I still ate healthy. To make up for my nutritional deficiencies, my mom gave me all sorts of vitamins. All sorts, trust me, heehee.
Thankfully, as I matured, I had grown to love vegetables, fruits and all sorts of protein. I chose to eat healthy on my own, and by the time I had kids, they had grown to love healthy, nutritious food too. Which as it turns out, is one of the key reasons as to why my kids are NOT picky eaters!
According to Dra. Valdez, here are the top reasons why kids become picky eaters:
- The family’s eating habits. Dr. Valdez says if your child is a picky eater, it’s not about the child! Picky eaters turn out that way because of the eating and feeding habits parents establish with their children. In short, if we don’t eat healthy, how can we expect our kids to eat healthy?
- Milk and bottlefeeding. Once child has reached 6 months of age, milk should no longer be his sole source of nutrition/nourishment. He can start eating solid food, gradually introducing new flavors to his palate. Giving the child milk, especially milk in bottles at age 1 may potentially mess with them eating solid foods. Milk fills up the stomach too, not allowing them to eat real food.
- Snacking. We should never allow our child to snack 2 hours before a meal. It is a surefire way to ruin their appetite.
- Junk food! Let’s face it, why eat real food when you have the option of having junk food? Many parents feel junk food is better than no food at all, but really, you are doing your kids a disservice by giving them junk food.
As parents, we need to “model behavior” and be good examples to our children by eating the right food, in the right portions, at the right time. I’m looking at you, indulgers and snackers!
I’ve seen this happen a couple of times. When my kids snack in the car, and then lunch or dinner is served as soon we get to the restaurant or our home, it’s almost guaranteed that they will not touch their food at the table.
Try to stop buying those sugary drinks and snacks, soda, instant noodles and start serving healthy food instead. Your kids may just amaze you.
That said, what do we do to make sure we raise well-nourished children? Well-nourished meaning they are not undernourished nor overnourished, because chubbiness can also be a sign of malnutrition!
Dra. Valdez stresses that nourishment is not just about food, and breaks it down into 3 N’s.
- Nurture – This refers to the loving and healthy environment that a child needs. The energy we give out to our children greathly impacts the energy they emit to us and to others. We should take care to make sure to not allow bad energy reach our children. More than that, we should invest in them by spending quality time with them. Reading & music, even talking to our babies while still in the womb are great ways to nurture them.
- Nature –This refers to heredity and genetics. You can’t expect kids to be giants if both parents are petite. Comparing your kids to other kids will just cause frustration if you feel that your kids are not as tall or as big as other kids without taking into account genetics. As long as your kids do not fall below a certain percentile in the World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts, do not worry unnecessarily.
If you are in doubt if your kids are nourished enough, ask your pediatrician for a nutritional assessment. But remember that each child is different, and it could be attributed to genetics. Your doctor can gauge your child’s growth using a chart that measures stature/length, age, weight percentile to make sure your child’s growth is normal and not stunted.
- Nutrition – This starts with feeding newborns. Breast milk is of course, always best. As the child grows, ensure that you serve your child a well-balanced meal. Also remember that eating is a full-time activity. Establish good eating habits such as sitting down and eating together with the family, and never never in front of the TV.
Of course, even if we are conscientious about giving all the Go, Grow and Glow foods, sometimes children will require supplementary feeding due to an illness, low iron/iodine, vitamin C or zinc deficiency.
Dra. Valdez shares that in this case, vitamins are important. Look for multivitamins with Vitamins B1, B6, B12, Iron, Iodine, Calcium, Zinc and Vitamin C.
However, note that vitamins alone do not boost appetite. There are vitamins that include appetite stimulants, but Dra. Valdez says these may only be given with a doctor’s prescription and under your pedia’s supervision.
Of course, to maximize our kids’ growth, apart from feeding them right, make sure that they get enough sleep.
We release the most growth hormones in our sleep. A 2 hour nap during the day, and 8 hours of sleep at night will not only ensure that they get the benefits of the surge in growth hormones, they also have enough rest to always be ganado and on the go!
To help ensure that your kids get their much needed vitamins and nutrients for energy and optimal growth, have them take Appebon. This strawberry flavored syrup is rich in Vitamin B1, B6 and B12, Iron and L-Lysine. For more info on Appebon Kid and the Batang Ganado, Batang Can Do campaign, go visit their Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/appebonkid