Ah, the challenges of introducing your little one to new foods! If you’re worried whether your child is getting all the essential nutrients because they’re not too keen on trying new foods, take a deep breath. We’re here to be your trusty guides.


First, let’s talk about the picky eating phase:

This phase is as common as the giggles and sticky fingers that accompany it. Your little one is growing, learning, and discovering their world, including tastes and textures. Their taste buds are still a work in progress. Plus, asserting their newfound independence is all part of the game. So, if your child occasionally wrinkles their nose at new foods, it’s just another step in their exciting journey of development.


How does picky eating affect your baby’s nutrition?

As your child grows, their little bodies crave specific nutrients to support their rapid growth. Here’s a sneak peek into the VIP list of nutrients your child needs:

Iron: As your baby’s iron reserves from birth start dwindling, foods like lean meats, cereals, and beans become the heroes that maintain their iron levels. Create iron-rich dishes like spinach and lentil soup. You can even prepare a chicken curry for that iron boost.

Calcium: For those sturdy little bones and pearly white teeth, dairy products, paneer, cheese, and leafy greens are the stars of the show. Try including calcium-rich yogurt in your child’s diet, or prepare a spinach and cheese stuffed paratha for a calcium-packed meal.

Protein: Building blocks of growth, you’ll find protein in lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and legumes. You can whip up a tasty dal khichdi, paneer tikka, or serve grilled fish for a protein-packed dinner.

Fiber: Keeping digestion in check, fruits, veggies, and whole grains bring their fiber A-game to the table. You can make a wholesome vegetable pulao (pilaf) with brown rice and plenty of veggies, or offer fresh fruit as a fiber-rich snack.

Vitamins and minerals: Fruits and veggies are treasures of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for the overall well-being of your tiny explorer. Try this out: Prepare a colorful fruit salad for dessert, or make a nutrient-packed halwa with fruits and ground dry fruits.


How can you make sure your picky eater gets these essential nutrients?


Sneaky veggies: Get ready to unleash your inner food magician. Puree those veggies and sneak them into sauces, soups, or purees for a super nutritious surprise. Blend spinach into a tasty palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese curry) or add grated carrots to your child’s favorite pasta sauce.

Balanced recipes: Become the chef of nutrient-packed recipes. Think sweet potato or spinach-infused pasta. Create a delicious vegetable biryani or make stuffed parathas with various veggies like potatoes, cauliflower, or peas.

Exploration and fun: Embrace the mess! Mealtime is all about exploration, so let your little one dive in with their hands (and yes, it might get a tad messy). Bring a rainbow of colors to their plate and let their imagination run wild. Let your child explore making their own dosas or uttapams. Make the process interactive.

Consistent exposure: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are healthy eating habits. Reintroduce a previously rejected food item in a different form. If they didn’t like boiled carrots, try offering carrot sticks or a carrot and pea pulao. Don’t be disheartened if your tiny food critic turns their nose up at new foods. Keep offering them – persistence is the secret sauce here.

Patience and persistence: Remember, picky eating is like a guest that may overstay their welcome but eventually packs their bags. Avoid food battles; they’re no fun for anyone. Instead, sprinkle patience and persistence into your mealtime routine. Encourage your child to try one new food item at each meal, even if it’s just a small taste. Over time, these small steps can lead to greater variety.

Variety of foods: Introduce a medley of foods – fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Familiar friends and new buddies should share the plate. Experiment with regional Indian cuisines. Prepare dishes from different states like dosa from South India, chole bhature from North India, or dhokla from the West. Try different cooking methods; your baby might have secret food crushes you’re yet to discover.

Make meals fun: Get creative! Turn mealtime into a mini-adventure. Play with shapes, colors, and presentation. Your baby might just be more interested in a smiley face pancake than a plain one. Craft puris or chillas into fun shapes like stars or animals, or create a colorful and visually appealing fruit salad.

Be a role model: Little eyes are always watching, and tiny ears are tuned in. Be the role model – show your baby that trying new foods is exciting. Have family meals together whenever possible. Express your own excitement when trying a new Indian dish. Share stories about your favorite childhood meals and the joy they bring.

Maintain a routine: Routine adds a sprinkle of order to mealtime chaos. Regular meal and snack times help regulate your baby’s appetite. Avoid constant snacking; it might take the edge off their hunger come mealtime. Set specific mealtimes and snacks, and stick to them as consistently as possible. This routine can help your child anticipate when it’s time to eat.

Respect their appetite: Teach your baby to listen to their tummy. Encourage them to stop when they’re full, and avoid using food as a bargaining chip. Serve smaller portions to avoid overwhelming your child. Let them ask for more if they’re still hungry.

Offer healthy options: Keep a stash of healthy snacks close by – think fruit slices, whole-grain crackers, and yogurt. Wave goodbye to sugary, processed snacks; they’re not on the guest list. Prepare homemade snacks like baked whole-wheat mathris or roasted chickpeas for a nutritious crunch.

Stay calm and positive: Mealtime should be a drama-free zone. Keep your cool, and sprinkle positivity around like confetti. Avoid food-related negativity – it’s not on the menu. Make mealtimes a time for bonding and storytelling. Share stories about the significance of various Indian dishes and traditions.

Seek professional advice: In some cases, under the watchful eye of a healthcare professional, you might consider pediatric multivitamins or specific nutrient supplements if your baby consistently avoids certain food groups. Remember, these are like sidekicks – always there to support but never the main act. Consult with a pediatrician or registered dietitian who can recommend suitable supplements if necessary.

When to seek help:

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. If you ever feel like you’re wading through deep waters of uncertainty or if your baby’s growth and development seem to hit a speed bump because of their eating habits, it’s perfectly okay to reach out for help. Pediatricians and nutrition specialists are ready to guide you through this phase.

With patience, love, and the right strategies, you can help your little one transition into a more varied and nutritious diet. Keep in mind that every child is unique, and this phase shall pass.

Celebrate each milestone, savor every small victory, and cherish this beautiful journey of nurturing your picky eater. You’ve got this!