Top 5 Reasons Why Your Child Could Be Refusing Food

When we counsel the parents, many complain that their kids live on ‘air’! Most of you know how frustrating meal time can be when you try something new or worse when you serve something they’ve eaten before and then refuse to eat! Most kids will do this occasionally, but for some it is a way of life. Well, a variety of factors can contribute and the reasons can evolve over time. 

Medical:  Although this may seem like the most obvious reason kids don’t eat, it is often the most overlooked.  Well, at least it isn’t always explored deeply enough.  When kids have a well-documented medical condition or are visibly sick, it is obvious that their eating can be affected, but sometimes there are more subtle issues.  Two of the biggest problems are acid reflux and constipation.  Both of these very common problems for kids can put a halt to eating.

Sensory: For many “picky eaters” sensory processing plays a big role in their refusal to eat foods. Simply put, if something feels gross in their mouth or on their hands, they aren’t going to eat it.  The fancy therapeutic term we give for this is tactile defensive.  Clues that your child may be refusing foods because they are defensive are: gagging, squirming, or seeming frightened by the sight, smell, touch, or taste of a particular food.

Mechanics: This one might be a little tricky for parents to figure out because you need to consider how well your child is chewing and swallowing their food.  You can probably rule this out if you have a child over 2.5 that safely and easily transitioned onto table foods. Kids will start refusing to eat foods because they don’t know how to chew it or they are scared they are going to gag/choke/throw up again on this food.  They will often stick to a limited diet because they know they can manage them safely.

Routine: This can be a touchy subject for parents; we all have our comfortable eating habits and routines that we have already established for ourselves as adults.  We often continue to do what is comfortable for us with our kids, but it isn’t always what leads us to teaching them habits that we really want them to have. If you don’t have regular meal times, pay attention to how frequently they are eating. Do you eat in front of the TV often, and/or mostly let your kids pick what they want to eat? This is another way the bad habits can begin that can play a role in poor eating.

Behavior: Although, behavior plays a role, it is actually a small percentage of kids that actually refuse to eat based solely on behavior. For kids that have a history of being picky or poor eaters, behavior is a piece of the puzzle, but typically it has evolved from one of the legitimate reasons listed above. 
If you are confused, overwhelmed, or still not sure why your kid is struggling with food, a pediatric opinion followed by a diet consultation with a Nutritionist might be a good idea.

Instant Veggie – Jowar Dosa
·         Jowar flour –½ cup                                      

·         Rice flour -1/4 cup
·         Carrot (grated) – 2tsp
·         Onion – 2 tsp
·         Sour Curd (optional) –  2 tsp
·         Coriander (chopped) – 2 tsp
·         Water – 1 ½ cup
·         Salt – 1 tsp
·         Oil – 3 tsp

1.       Mix the flour. Add water gradually such that no lumps are formed. Make it to a pouring consistency.
2.       Add the remaining ingredients to the batter and adjust the salt as required.
3.       Heat tawa and spread the batter for dosa. Add oil and wait for few seconds until it turns brown. Flip the dosa.
4.       Relish it with chutney/ sambar.

*Note – Add any vegetables of your choice like peas, beetroot, palak, etc to suit kids’ taste buds.

Highlights of the recipe -Jowar is good source of carbohydrates, proteins (compared to other cereals proteins are more in jowar) and B vitamins.  Veggies are sources of vitamins and minerals (as anti-oxidants). Curd is a good source of protein.

Nutritive values
Macro nutrients:
·         Calories – 285 kcal
·         Carbohydrates- 63.4 g
·         Protein – 7 g
·         Fats – 15.4 g
·         Fiber – 2.4 g

Micro nutrients:
·         Vitamin A- 907 IU
·         Vitamin C – 15 mg
·         Potassium – 128 mg
·         Sodium – 19 mg
·         Iron – 3 mg
·         Calcium – 61mg

Health tip
Parents! If you are offering any new foods to your child, eat the new food yourself in front of your child and you can see your child imitate you.
#children# new foods# acceptance