Struggling with Your Child’s Eating Habits? Try Food Chaining
Some children can turn out to be picky eaters, and that can be very frustrating for the parents. Food chaining is an effective and simple technique for improving the eating habits of such kids. It creates links between particular foods that your child loves and other foods that they might love.
Some kids will just love junk food. They just want to do French fries and chicken nuggets. That’s not a very healthy food for a kid to eat regularly. Sometimes the kid might be so picky that you only have very limited choices regarding what to feed them.
Parents should not feel embarrassed when they have children with very picky appetites. That habit can be countered and improved gradually. Sometimes the pickiness might be as a result of a medical condition.
Food chaining, as the name suggests, is basically building a chain off of the foods that your kids already love. The process is always gradual, but you get impressive results after a while. The kids should be unconscious of the gradual change.
How Does Food Chaining Work?
What you need to do, is introduce food that is quite similar to what your child likes. The similarity could be in taste, color, texture, etc. The slight differences will build up over time, and you will end up with a huge variety of foods that you can feed to your kid.
The practice takes time and patience. Adjacent foods on the chain have to be quite similar to each other, otherwise, the kid will notice the difference and refuse the new food.
The food chaining process if mostly recommended for picky eaters. Medically, a picky eater is defined as a child eating 30 of fewer foods. Some kids will eat as little as 20 or even fewer foods. Such children are dubbed “problem eaters”
You could use the process on your kid even if there are neither problem or picky eaters. Diversifying your kid’s menu, a little bit more, is never a bad thing.
For instance, if your kid only wants to do chicken nuggets, you could introduce fish nuggets which are not very different from the chicken in terms of taste and texture. You could then do grilled chicken or fish with ketchup. The end game will be trying to decrease the ketchup so that the kid can eventually accept the chicken or fish meat itself.
The goal is to get your kid to start or continue eating healthy. If your kid is doing nuggets and fries today, they won’t want to be anywhere near beans or carrots tomorrow. You have to take it one step after the other.