Raising baby to eat everything

Savvy strategies for bringing up your little one to be an adventurous eater.


The trick to getting your fussy eater to eat well is to ensure that your little one enjoys their food from the get-go. It’s up to you as the parent to raise your munchkin to have an enduring interest in delicious and healthy food.

Why is it so important? Most kids who are poor eaters suffer from vitamin D and iron deficiencies, which could affect their growth. Also, as a picky eater, your child could develop a selective-eating adult, even showing signs of anxiety and depression, according to a US study published in the journal Pediatrics.

So how do you keep junior on the healthy and willing-to-try path? In Dina Rose’s book, It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating, the sociologist-and-feeding-expert notes that junior will be more curious and open-minded about food when parents shift their emphasis to showing them how to eat right — instead of nagging. Here are tips to try:

Dining as a family also benefits your mini-me’s emotional and social development…

1) Establish mealtime rules

Children thrive on routines as they get a sense of security knowing what comes next and what is expected of them. Always serve meals at set times, placing the food on a high-chair tray or — ideally — at the dining table, and away from distractions such as the television.

By the way, keep snacks to a minimum — either mid-morning or mid-afternoon — so as to not ruin the appetite for main meals. Get them to be part of the family meal. Notes Claudia Correia, a dietitian at Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre, “This way, the children will understand that mealtimes are a time to eat and be with the family and not to play.”

2) Encourage communal and independent eating 

Dining as a family also benefits your mini-me’s emotional and social development, Correia adds. Plus, you can also model the behaviours you want them to adopt, such as a willingness to try broccoli if they see you eating it.

Even if bub is still on purées, pique their curiosity by offering some of what the family is eating to play around with — just make sure it has little or no salt. They might just pop it into their mouth and enjoy it.

Also, as messy as it can get, junior will love feeding themselves. Place a washable mat under the high chair, hand over a spoon and a tub of yoghurt and watch them go to town with it.

Three more tactics to keep your munchkin’s tastebuds active and willing…