Fussy eaters at home, is your family wasting food?
khaleejtimes -

How often has your little one looked at a plate of greens and groaned loudly? For most families, it has been far more than once.

Food waste disposal firm InSinkErator commissioned the research and discovered that parents serve 1,460 evening meals to their family during an average year, but end up throwing out the equivalent of over a quarter of those. The study discovered that's around 394 delicious plates of food going uneaten.

The same study surveyed 2,000 parents and found eight in 10 regularly end up throwing away at least part of their children's meals.

Forty-five per cent blame this on their little ones being fussy eaters with 57 per cent admitting they have put a meal in front of their child, only to have them completely refuse to eat it.

Why are kids picky eaters?

According to Janani Satchithanantham, a senior dietitian with Aster Hospital, Qusais, children have specific food preferences and it is up to the parents to make food attractive to the child. She explained: "Every kid's palate develops on their own time, just like their motor, speech and cognitive development. Think about it. Eating involves the three senses of taste, smell and touch."

She said parents need to take the time to observe their child's food preferences over a period of time to provide them with the food that will meet their nutritional needs. "If you are worried that they aren't getting their nutritional needs met, observe your child's food intake over a week's time to understand their food choices, try and balance it through their favourite foods.

The doctor also warned parents who discard food. "When we discard food, we're also discarding a lot of healthy nutrients. Especially, the most perishable foods that we tend to throw away are vegetables, fruits and seafood."

Respect your child's appetite

Janani said: "Make it fun to learn and eat. Teach them about the major food groups and what they do for their body. Help them pick their favourite fruit. If they don't eat veggies, challenge them to find another way to get their vitamins. Make it into a fun game. Try and appreciate them when they complete a meal."

The dietician also said parents need to be patient with new foods. "You can use the 'try each thing once' rule, but don't worry if it doesn't work or try the same food after a couple of weeks. I find that the more pressure you put on them, the less likely they are to find it and appreciate it for themselves when they are ready," she explained.

Parents can try to hide veggies in their food, in the form of soups and stuffed parathas or bread and make it more attractive. However, the doctor insists that parents must not offer deserts as rewards.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com



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