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Is your child a fussy eater? Ensure your child receives all the essential nutrients

Posted on 03 September, 2012

By Simply Supplements


Fussy eating can be incredibly frustrating especially when, as a parent, you know the important role a healthy and balanced diet will play in the development of growing kids. As a result power struggles around the dinner table between parents and children have been routine for many years.

Approximately one third of children under the age of 8 are fussy eaters. It is often between the ages of 18 to 24 months that children become increasingly independent in all areas of their lives, and this is also reflected in their eating habits. During this period it is not unusual for children to turn away food they previously enjoyed. So what can you do to ensure your growing child receives all the nutrients they require?


Essential nutrients for growing kids

Vitamins A and C are essential the healthy growth and development of muscles, connective tissues, skin and eyes. Vitamin C also aids the absorption of iron within the body. Iron is vital for growth and the development of the brain and immune system. Iron is particularly important for young girls as they reach puberty and for children following a vegetarian diet. From the age of five, a children multivitamin can offer a nutritious foundation to your child's diet, so you can be sure they are receiving the most important nutrients required for healthy growth and development.

Vitamin D and calcium are essential to build strong bones and teeth. Over recent years there has been a re-emergence of rickets in the UK, which is the result of a calcium and vitamin D deficiency. This is due to various factors, including the increasing use of sun cream and more time spent playing indoors.

Folic acid isn’t just important during pregnancy. It is also important for growing children to ensure the proper development of the nervous system and brain functioning. Recent studies have also shown that folic acid can improve children’s concentration and attention span when studying at school.

Commonly young children are fussy about eating fresh fish (not the fish finger variety). The omega 3 essential fatty acids for kids found in fresh fish are essential for the healthy development of the brain and eyes.

CLICK HERE to view our children’s range of vitamins and supplements.


Tips for dealing with fussy eating toddlers

    • Serve small portions – a small child’s stomach is approximately the size of their fist so it is important not to overwhelm them... you can always serve more later.
    • Don't pressure your child to eat - children often refuse food to assert themselves as they look to gain more independence. In addition, young children often have an effective and innate ability to judge their own satiety levels. If a child is forced to consume portions larger than they require in order to clear their plate, they could develop problems, such as weight gain, in later childhood and teens. Encouraging your child to stop eating when they are full will help them to develop healthy eating habits for life.
    • Don’t use tasty desserts as a reward for finishing the food in front of them as this will make your child believe that what they are currently eating is bad.
    • Establish a routine – try to schedule meals and snacks at the same time each day. Snacks are fine if they are not within two hours of a planned meal time.
    • Try to keep meal time fun – you could try cutting food such as sandwiches into shapes. Also, when sat at the table talk to your child about the colours, shapes and smells of the food they are eating.
    • Get your child involved in the food shopping – allowing your child to help you select a range of fruits, vegetables and foods can encourage them to eat them when they appear at the dinner table. Let them help to wash and prepare food.
    • Eat together – sit in the same place for meal times and eat as a family. Children often take more interest in food when their parents or older siblings do, so make it a family affair. Try to express your own excitement about certain foods.
    • Introduce new foods alongside your child’s favourite foods. It has been reported that it takes on average 5 to 10 attempts for young children to try a new food. Research shows that the more young children are exposed to a wide range of foods, the more likely they are to like them.


    Picky eating – a result of evolution?

    Could the fussy eating habits of our young children really be the result of evolution? There is some evidence to suggest that that this is true. This argument claims that prior to 18 months of age children instinctively accept food that is given to them because evolution has taught them to trust the primary care givers. However, when children become mobile between 18 to 24 months they are exposed to many new dangers. This argument suggests that evolution has created an innate survival instinct in children to avoid unknown foods to ensure their safety. So, certain types of fussy eating could be a survival instinct passed down from our predecessors. What do you think?


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