Nutrient Dense Healthy Food for Picky Eaters
Early childhood, which includes the preschool stage (2–5 years), is the phase of physical, emotional, and mental development and forms the foundation for the child’s future well-being. Adequate and wholesome nutrition plays a vital role during this stage.
A preschooler’s body needs nutrient-dense foods. To plan the best diet for picky eaters, choose nutrient dense food items that contain a lot of nutrients with good amount of energy. While allotting foods for fussy toddlers, you need to look for foods that contain vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Your kid may not like it instantly, but giving protein for picky toddlers and vitamins for fussy eaters help in keeping them fueled all day long. You can also make healthy snacks for your picky toddler every now and then.
A way to do this is by packing all the 5 food groups in picky eater’s daily diet. The five essential food groups:
- Grains (like rice, wheat, ragi, bread)
- Vegetables including green leafy vegetables
- Protein-rich foods (such as beans, eggs, seafood, poultry and other meat products)
- Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt)
However, these increased nutrient needs are not met by a child who is a fussy eater, due to their unwillingness to consume certain food and/or lack of variety in the diet. Compared to non-fussy eaters, fussy eaters consume lesser amounts of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, as well as protein-rich foods. This may cause a deficiency of micronutrients in their body particularly that of vitamin A, zinc, and iron.
Remember, children have small tummies, but at this stage their nutrient needs are high. Therefore, you as a caregiver, must encourage healthy meals for your fussy eater, which include nutrient-dense foods and less amounts of foods and beverages high in sugar, salt, and fat.
Use of fortified foods as part of a balanced diet can help bridge the micronutrient gap without any change in existing food habits.