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My Child is Underweight!

Is your child's fussy eating causing him to be underweight? Here's how you can get him to eat more and eat healthy, without having to force him.

Most children are fussy eaters. Eating comes last on their list of priorities - there are so many other more exciting things to do! Children often eat less simply because eating the same food day after day gets boring. Every mother will naturally want to push her underweight child to eat more. Although you may feel that by using some force and discipline you will get her to put two more bites in her mouth, this is really not the most effective strategy. In addition, if you serve food she does not like, she will naturally not want to eat it, and you will have to force her all the more.

Instead of forcing your children to eat whatever is cooked, consider asking them what they would like to eat. If they have a say in what is cooked, they will almost certainly be more willing to eat it.


Make thinner chapattis

Malti was constantly trying to get her daughter Mona to eat chapattis. Mona detested them, and would eat one with great difficulty. She was also very underweight. And then one day Malti took Mona to a friend's house for lunch, and was surprised to see her daughter eat as many as seven chapattis! The reason? The chapattis at Malti's house were thick, and these paper-thin chapattis were just what Mona enjoyed. This little change made such a big difference! So if your child detests chapattis, have you ever tried making them thinner?


Mix good and bad

Every parent wants their children to eat healthy, but the healthiest food is not always the tastiest. If you want your child to eat those karelas he so completely detests, consider serving karelas as an accompaniment to a dish he simply loves, like perhaps rajma and rice. At least your child's heart will not sink as soon as he sits down on the table and sees what's for lunch or dinner!


Experiment often

Children enjoy variety. Taking the example of karelas, if you make them stuffed for a change, instead of chopped, your child will almost certainly want to try it, just because it looks new and interesting. And who knows, maybe he likes it! It is especially important to try new ways of cooking vegetables your child doesn't like.


Include vegetables in different cuisines

Try and expose your child to various cuisines. In all likelihood children in India have been mostly exposed to Indian cuisine, and perhaps some Chinese cuisine. If your child enjoys Chinese food, try and make it more regularly. This is a great opportunity to make your child eat plenty of vegetables like beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and so on. Cut these vegetables in thin strips and add them to the noodles. You could also serve them a mixed vegetable sauce. Make it a point to include vegetables like carrots, beans and broccoli, which perhaps your child will not enjoy in a regular meal. Skip the Ajino Moto or MSG, and avoid noodles made of refined flour or maida.

Similarly, mixed vegetables in white sauce made with wheat instead of maida, goes great with brown bread. Add a little garlic butter to the toast, and watch your kids gulp down the meal in an instant.


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