Visually-appealing food for fussy children

Delightful twist
Last Updated : 19 August 2015, 18:32 IST

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Suppose your kids dislike yoghurt.But you know it’s good for them. Try adding some honey into the milk while you set the yoghurt or you can add a small dollop of real fruit jam on top of it – chances are your child might relish it like his favourite cookies!

Every mother’s nightmare is to deal with a child who is a fussy eater, and in most of the cases, children are fussy eaters. The misery begins with packing lunch boxes which they usually bring back home without touching it or running after them to eat healthy options like spinach in their meal. The list is endless.

According to Abha Singh, child and clinical psychologist, “This is a kind of pattern one witnesses in today’s nuclear families that give in to their children’s demand easily”.

“With both parents working, they don’t take out much time to prepare something the child loves. So invariably, the child acquires taste for junk food. Parents have to inculcate good and healthy eating habits in children at a very younger age,” she tells Metrolife.

Fussy eating is a part of children’s development and it is absolutely normal for them to show their dislike towards a certain food based on its shape, colour or texture. As Singh points out, the more parents insist a child on eating a particular kind of food, the more likely they are to revolt.

“Parents should stop lecturing. They can assert whatever they want to with a firm tone,” she says. But Madhuri Iyer, author and a mother, has a different take on this subject altogether. “Kids eat with their eyes, so you have to make the food visually appealing, only then they will eat it,” Iyer tells Metrolife.

After going through the every day hassle of packing lunch boxes and running after her children to eat healthy food, Iyer decided to experiment in the kitchen and try different ways to inculcate healthy food habits into her children.

“If palate is trained to appreciate from a very young age, children will automatically switch off from the junk food,” she elaborates.

Her decades of exploration and experimentation in the kitchen have taken shape in the form of a book The Supermom Cookbook in which she proposes the theory of ‘switch, spin and stocking up’ and gives an assortment of interesting recipes that aren’t just easy to make but are visually appealing.

“The first place you make the switch is inside your head. Once you resolve to embrace a healthier lifestyle, the determination will find its way into your kitchen,” she writes, adding, the reason why kids are sold on the food commercials on television is because the food is yummy-looking.

“The fact of life is when food looks good and smells good, kids assume it tastes good too. The idea is to draw their eyes to every dish on the table, using as many visual cues as possible,” she says.

According to Iyer, parents should use cookie cutters to shape sandwiches. “It converts a standard sandwich into something special. They love different shapes, like stars or gingerbread. So allow your imagination to run free,” she says.

While the presentation is important, the real winner is the taste, something that is acquired over a time. But if combined with imagination and experimentation, mothers will have a great time in the kitchen.

Published 19 August 2015, 15:25 IST

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