Category: Child Nutrition

Healthy Habits to Keep a Child’s Immunity Strong

Healthy Habits to Keep a Child’s Immunity Strong

You may at times want to believe a child’s habits you do not agree with are there to test a parent’s patience. But instead of considering it as an inconvenience, consider it as a teaching opportunity. Especially if there are quirks concerning sanitation, you would want to do anything in your power to boost their immunity. Support them with good discipline, good food or child nutrition supplement (eg. PediaSure) if needed and anything else to ensure that they grow up happy and healthy.

 

Best Healthy Habit Picks in Keeping Your Child’s Immunity Strong 

  1. Prevention is priority, get those hands washing
    Germs: invisible to the eye, are worries every parent has getting on their children. Hygiene practices are for not getting sick in the first place. It can reduce the spread of illnesses to your child and prevent your child from spreading if if they are ill themselves.2
  2. Hydration is Their Best Friend
    A well hydrated body helps nutrients to be absorbed more efficiently, while helping it detox. It is a well known fact that the more efficient the body is with distribution of anything, the stronger your child’s immune system will be.3
  3. Prioritize healthy Food Choices
    No matter how much your child begs you to give them the unhealthy choices, it is your job to find the healthy alternative that they would enjoy. Overly sugary, starchy, high sodium and fatty foods hinder immune system cells, thus giving infecting bacteria time to thrive. To ensure best nutritional content, keep fruits and vegetables seasonal and most can be mixed into various combinations to make them more enjoyable.1
  4. Staying healthy should involve the whole family
    To instill healthy eating habits, lead by example. Encourage slow eating to avoid gorging, eat together more often, and include your children in food prep and shopping. Set clear food rules, eg. sodas & treats on weekends only or no media entertainment while eating. Never withhold food as punishment nor use junk food as reward. Health also includes physical activity so play a sport together and encourage activity participation at school. This is because physical activity helps flush bacteria from the airways and activates antibodies by getting the blood flowing.5
  5. Being well rested improves Immunity
    Children require good sleep just like parents do. During sleep, the body repairs and balances all that was done during the day. Inconsistent amounts disrupts hormonal functions and hinders the body’s ability to fight off infections. Creating bedtime rituals can help put your child to bed smoother.4

All in all, the principle of improving immunity is prevention. Whether it is nutrition or physical activity balance is key and a parent should always lead by example. But sometimes finding the time to provide a balanced nutrition for your child can be difficult due to a busy modern life. That is why parents can look for help with child nutrition supplements like PediaSure. Enriched with Vitamins A, B6, B12, Iron, Zinc, and Selenium, all known to boost immune function, PediaSure provides your child with complete balanced nutrition to keep them strong and grow up happy.6

 

References:

  1. https://www.parents.com/health/cold-flu/cold/boost-childs-immunity/
  2. https://www.indiaparenting.com/childs-healthcare/257_6076/10-good-habits-for-boosting-childs-immunity.html
  3. https://www.klayschools.com/blog/protect-your-childs-health-this-monsoon/
  4. https://www.biokplus.com/blog/en_US/kids-health/keep-your-child-immune-system-strong-with-these-5-tips_1
  5. https://www.webmd.com/children/kids-healthy-eating-habits#1
  6. https://abbottfamily.com.sg/products/page/pediasure

Supplemental Readings:

  1. https://www.verywellfamily.com/best-ways-to-boost-kids-immune-system-620562
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm#:~:text=Physical%20activity%20may%20help%20flush,system%20cells%20that%20fight%20disease.

How to Support Your Child’s Immune System through Nutrition

How to Support Your Child’s Immune System through Nutrition

Balance is the game and variety is its name when it comes to what a healthy plate for a child should look like. There should be plenty of proteins, healthy fats, high quality sources of vitamins (C, E, D, Lutein), Choline, minerals, fatty acids, filling fibers, and carbohydrates that support growth and most importantly, immunity. Today we will have a quick look at some of the most important ones from each category and how PediaSure can help top off your child’s nutritional needs.

 

Vitamin C and E

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), which is also an antioxidant, is a critical nutrient in supporting the various cell functions that are responsible for fighting and adapting to infections. While Vitamin C is supporting the adaptability of cells, Vitamin E (dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate) helps with their resilience. It helps your child’s blood flow, thus allowing the body to distribute nutrients properly.1

 

Vitamin C: Strawberries, Pineapples, Broccoli, Bell Peppers

Vitamin E: Nuts, sunflower seeds, dark green leafy vegetables

 

What is Choline and how it Helps

Choline is actually neither a mineral or a vitamin, but a water soluble compound. This compound is important for other bodily functions in your child besides supporting the immune system. Functions like brain sharpness, development, muscle memory, and nervous system. But as for immunity alone, it helps with the immune cells reaction time to bodily invaders. Though the body already makes choline, these are the best food sources: eggs, mushrooms, red meat, chicken and beef liver, cod fish, soybean oil.1

 

Healthy Fats and Carbohydrates

Saturated fats found in most packaged food and fast foods is the unhealthy version while unsaturated fats found in non farmed fish, tree nuts, organic meats, pure milk and avocados. Fats are needed for vitamins to be absorbed while it boosts T-Cell activity, allowing your child’s body for better antibody production. Carbohydrates are what provides energy and keeps your child active throughout the day. An appropriate amount will keep the blood sugar in their body stable, which reduces stress, thus giving the body more time to recover from infections faster. There are carbs in a lot of foods, but whole food sources like non refined whole grains, brown rice, choice of fruits or vegetables, and fortified cereals. High quality or complex carbohydrates are also high in fiber which keeps your child’s gut healthy (feeds the good bacteria known as probiotics to fight off the harmful ones).2

Nutrition has a powerful role in how well their bodies fight off infections. But it is not always easy for a parent to do. That is why enlisting the help of child nutrition like PediaSure to help with nutrients missing from natural food. One serving (225 ml in liquid or 5 scoops in powder) has protein content of 1 egg, Vitamin C content of 3 giant strawberries, Choline from 1 handful of nuts, and Vitamin E amount equal to ½ a cup of cooked spinach, a parent is rest assured that their child will have a complete and balanced diet when they need the help.3

 

References:

  1. ​​https://pediasure.com/child-development-nutrition/powerful-nutrition-kids#immune-support
  2. https://pediasure.in/child-nutrition/complete-balanced-diet-and-nutrition-for-kids
  3. https://pediasure.in/about-pediasure/pediasure-product-formulation

Nutrition’s Role in Building Strong Immune System in Children

Nutrition’s Role in Building Strong Immune System in Children

Balanced nutrition for a child is the art of providing the body with the necessary fuel to grow up healthy and happy. But what if the body is not getting what it needs? Development potential to build the necessary immune systems to fight infectious diseases can become less efficient. Optimizing your child’s nutrition for immunity boosting during their growing journey will have a great impact on how well they grow up.

 

4 Important Truths about Nutrition and Immunity

  1. Nutrition Impacts Physical, Emotional, and Mental Wellbeing
    Food is fuel and in any area, be it caloric or vitamins, that is lacking, it will reduce activeness and can make a child more irritable if it goes on for a long time. Balance your child’s meals with plenty of essential fats, complex carbohydrates (beans, whole grains, and vegetables), vitamins and minerals from natural food as much as possible.1
  2. Immunity depends on Gut Health
    Most of the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) live in your child’s gut so nutrition plays a role in the kinds that live there. These probiotics need prebiotics (specialized plant fibers), found in many fruits, whole grains, chickpeas, and fortified cereals, to feed their growth. They also aid in your child’s digestion and better digestion means more comfort and efficient absorption of nutrients.2, 4
  3. Good Nutrition Equals Better Immune Response
    A well rounded gut health will have better immune cell activity. Such as food containing Vitamin K2, increases the body’s response to inflammation by helping the disease fighting cells get where they need to be. This vitamin also supports bone health and we know that better bones mean better red blood cell production which equals better blood flow for your child.3, 4
  4. Vitamin Alphabet
    Vitamins, also known as Micronutrients, stimulate the immune system. Vitamin A is responsible for antibody responses, while Vitamins B6, B9, B12 are important for their functionality. Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant, is needed by white blood cells to fight infections while Vitamine E has a protective role for it. Vitamin D, also a functionality facilitator, can be gained by exposure to sunlight, but food sources are more favorable. Eggs, fish, and fortified milk are great Vitamin D source options.5

    A seemingly daunting task, a parent has to work around a child’s potential pickiness and scour for alternative foods and develop creativity. But no matter how hard they try, nutritional misses happen. That is why Pediasure, a child nutrition supplement, aims to fill in where your child may be missing with natural food. In just 1 glass (225 ml), your child can get Vitamins A to C, Vitamin K2, gut health immunity supporting fibers, and carbohydrates so that your child never misses moments of their growth and happiness.6

 

References:

  1. https://www.nutriciaresearch.com/immunology/immune-system-development-and-the-importance-of-nutrition/
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nutrition-and-immunity/
  3. https://www.nuzest.com.au/blogs/news/children-s-nutrition-and-immunity-how-to-support-your-childs-immune-system-naturally
  4. https://www.parents.com/health/hygiene/5-ways-to-boost-your-kids-gut-health/
  5. https://sightandlife.org/blog/nutrition-immunity/
  6. https://abbottfamily.com.sg/products/page/pediasure

Additional Readings:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d

Why Building the Right Relationship with Eating is Important

Why Building the Right Relationship with Eating is Important

Every parent may lay claim to their child being the pickiest eater, and yes picky eating is quite common among children. This picky eating habit can carry over into adulthood. Your child is just stubborn with food or has some kind of medical issue that needs to be addressed, building a good relationship with eating is important nonetheless.

 

They develop damaging selective intake

When children do not have a good relationship with food, they will develop bad eating habits. They can be habits that range from saying they are full without barely taking a bite or refusing food all together.1, 2

  • This can stem from being forced to finish all that is on their plate.
  • It may have also been caused by a rewarding practice you may have done with them, eg. no TV or Playtime unless the meal is finished.
  • If they were ill often in the past, foods similar to those they ate then can trigger a loss of appetite as well.
  • Giving into a child’s demands or being overbearing, will eventually develop legitimate behavioral eating problems.
  • When they are picky about what they eat, you may find they will gorge on what they like.
  • They can also associate negative feelings with food and may even become aggressive in refusing.
  • They will refuse food simply because of its color, texture, or smell even when it is healthy, thus greatly limiting their nutritional options.

 

It will have an effect on their growth

Unfavorable relationship with eating is important not only for regulating appetite, but also important for a child’s wellbeing. A child who does not eat well will:1, 2

  • Have stunted growth with fragile bones.
  • Thin and petite for their age or at risk of childhood obesity due to inability to regulate nutrition.
  • Immunity will be weakened due to lack of beneficial vitamins and minerals.
  • Cognitive functions like stamina, concentration, and reaction time will falter too. This leads to doing poorly in academia and social interaction due to self confidence from weakness.

 

Tips on how to Improve

These are not solid rules, but concepts to keep in mind when developing a good relationship with eating in your children:1, 2

  1. Set a good example with yourself
  2. Do not use food or play time as a reward
  3. Do not hold any fun activities or favorite foods hostage
  4. Do not disallow certain foods just because you do not like them
  5. Do not force perfection

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/what-is-pediaSure/right-appettite
  2. https://www.nurturelife.com/blog/kids-food-creating-positive-relationship/

Picky Eater Solutions: Scheduled Meals and Family Table

Picky Eater Solutions: Scheduled Meals and Family Table

Today’s fast paced lifestyle has made family meal times erratic. With most parents juggling career and family life, not much time and thought is put into making healthy dishes.

Here, we will explore why having a regularly scheduled family meal time and place is beneficial and give tips on how to make this possible.

 

Why it Helps

For many aspects of life, having structure helps everything be efficient. This is especially true when it comes to feeding your child. It fills them with a sense of security with both the environment and food. It helps mainly to regulate their hunger and stop eating when they are full. Also, when combined with a nutritious meal, they grow up well and have less illnesses along the way. Since they will be less ill, have better brain power, and are more independent, it gives parents the ability to be less overbearing.1, 2 

 

Easy Meal Scheduling Tips

When it comes to planning, the plan that your child can adapt to easily should be a priority. That is why flexibility is key and just because it works for other people’s children, it may not be suitable for your child. 

 

  1. Plan the place first
    If your house plan allows it, set a comfortable meal place in the kitchen, dining room, or a fold out table in the living room so that your child knows where to come when it is meal time. This is not only for your child, you as a parent have to be there and eat. You can change the location if the situation requires it, but let your child know that it is an exception and do not do it often. 3, 4
  2. Set the time
    Breakfast at 7:00 am, Lunch at 1:00 pm, and Dinner at 6:30 are suggested times. This will change as the child grows older so, adopting an easily interchangeable schedule is beneficial. It depends on each individual child, but the 3 meals a day applies all the same with 2 to 3 snack sessions. Snack sessions should be about 3 to 4 hours from main meals. Meal times may be deviated, but make sure it is not less or more than 30 minutes from the original time. 3, 4
  1. Have several menu rotations
    Even as adults, when we are bored with a particular food, we turn to snacks and they usually are not nutritionally valuable. By having rotations, you know what is stock at home, creates less waste, and your child most definitely looks forward to their favorite one. There may be times when your child will be more interested in the snack sessions so make sure to pack those with nutrient dense options. 3, 4

 

After all the planning, scheduling, and cooking, you must try to remove the thought of forcing your child to fit in the way you want them to. You will always be in a power struggle and cause bad eating habits. Create opportunities for kids to make choices. The goal is not just to get them to eat, but to make them want to eat and regulate their own appetite.1, 2       

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/child-nutrition/fun-with-nutrition/follow-set-meal-and-snack-time-schedule
  2. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/child-nutrition/fun-with-nutrition/create-a-family-table-and-model-enjoyable-eating
  3. https://nutritioninbloom.com/blog/2019/4/5/how-scheduling-meals-and-snacks-can-help
  4. https://jillcastle.com/childhood-nutrition/meal-schedule-without-controlling/

 


When to Call A Nutritional Expert for Help

When to Call A Nutritional Expert for Help

Prevention is better than intervention when it comes to child nutrition. A parent will try their best to make sure that their child is getting the right nutrition, but sometimes it is best to get help. Here we explore a couple of the reasons where you may need the help of a Nutritional Expert for your child.

 

Rapid Weight drop or Prolonged Obesity, Picky Eating

If your child seems small for their age, you may need guidance from an expert. Even if the child is eating and gaining weight, they may be under-nourished and cause growth complications later in development. Being underweight (slowed growth effect) has about the same amount of side effects as being overweight (early heart problems and diabetes) so consulting a nutritionist will regulate their diet.1, 2

Extreme picky eating, like sensory eating, can also affect what nutrition a child gets. A parent may result in giving into a picky eater’s demands, but junk foods, packaged juice, chocolates, and plain colorless and flavorless meals could be missing the essentials and lead to vitamin-deficiency and stunted growth.1, 2

 

Diagnosed with a disease

Before assuming your child needs less fats, salts, or thinks they need a gluten free diet because you are allergic to it too, restrictions before consultations can affect proper development. If your child has been previously diagnosed with diabetes, has a breathing problem, intestinal problems in the past, or metabolic disease, a Child Nutritionist can provide an appropriate meal plan.1, 2

 

Allergies or Intolerances

If your child is often seen breaking out in hives, swelling in the face and extremities, or generally ill after whatever they eat, going to a nutritionist will help you guide through their intolerances or allergies. Lactose intolerance, gluten allergies (irregular bowel movements and nausea), nut allergy,  irritability and excessive sleepiness from added sugar (fructose) or celiac diseases are some of the most common allergies or intolerances in children. At the same time, the professional will tell you which recipes to include to prevent boredom and nutritional deficiencies.1, 2

A Nutritionist may recommend seeing other medical professionals for medication or behavioural treatments, but most often meal types, times, and oral supplements recommendations can suffice. Oral supplements like PediaSure can help fill in the nutritional gaps. Pediasure exclusive TripleSure, a specially synthesised Triple Protein Complex, efficiently delivers the 37 essential minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients for adequate nourishment. With various allergies, intolerances, and flavour preferences taken into account, PediaSure is available in many child friendly flavors and formats to make convenience choices.3   

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/child-nutrition/worried-your-child-is-not-eating-well/when-to-intervene
  2. https://youaremom.com/children/childrens-nutrition/eating-habits-for-children/child-nutritionist/
  3. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/child-nutrition/fun-with-nutrition/filling-nutritional-gaps

Recommended Nutrition for Kids

Recommended Nutrition for Kids

Kids in their growing years need all the help they can get, especially good nutrition, to support their development. Children need the same types of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats as adults do. But what is the best combination? What should children eat more of?

Here is a quick look at the recommended nutrition rates for kids.1

 

Counting the Calories

Counting calories is not just a popularized action in dieting for adults, but is also appropriate for children. It differs by age, gender, ethnicity, cultural practices, physicality, and environment (Tropical, Desert, Polar, Urban, Metro, Rural, etc.). From very young to about early teens, children need around 900 to 1800 calories or more a day respectively. It can even go up to 2600 calories a day. These calories should come from fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and sugars.2, 3 

 

Serving Size

The key to a good diet for a child is to fill them up on nutrient dense food items so they would not want ones with empty calories. The maximum serving will depend on the individual needs of a child, but here are the minimal servings of each food group.2, 3

 

Fruits: At Least 2 servings (1 to 2 ½ cups) per day. This is where your child will get a good amount of Vitamin A, C, Potassium, and fiber. This can include natural fruit juices or purees.2, 3

 

Vegetables: Key in the variety, at least 3 servings (1 to 3 ½ cups) of a mix of dark, colored, legumes, roots, and others. This is the alternative source of similar vitamins and minerals that you get from fruits.2, 3

 

Grains: The bulk of meals in a day and where a child should get their carbohydrates, serve about up to 6 servings (¼ cup to 1 ¼ cups) per day. If possible, provide only whole grains (whole wheat, oatmeal, brown rice, millet). You can serve refined grains, but should be no more than half the daily serving and are of enriched variety (Vitamin B or Folic Acid, Fiber and Iron are processed back in).2, 3

 

Dairy: For Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and some Protein to keep up growth and development, provide at least 2 to 3 servings (2 cups to 3 cups) per day. This does not have to be pure milk, but can include yogurt, cheese, soy or nut products and fortified foods.2, 3

 

Protein: Choice of seafood, lean meats, poultry, or vegetarian counterparts, serve at least 2 servings (56 grams to 142 grams) per day. Protein is very important for muscle health, brain health, and also part of satiety for the day. With these sources of protein, your child will get Iron, Zinc, and some B Vitamins.2, 3

 

Things to Limit

Sugars, sodium, oils, and other fats are not necessarily bad, you just have to limit them as much as possible. Oils, including cooking, should not be more than 27 grams of oil per day. It may have to go down to as low as ⅙ of serving per day the younger the child is. Saturated or Trans Fats and excessive Sodium come mostly from processed animal products and most packaged or fried items so make the choice with lean, fresh, steamed, baked or boiled options. An easy way to avoid these is to read food labels and have a nutritional value list on hand.2, 3 

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/child-nutrition/fun-with-nutrition/giving-enough-quantity-and-quality
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/nutrition-for-kids/art-20049335
  3. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/healthy-aging/nutrition-for-growing-bodies

How Pediasure Fills in Nutritional Gaps

How Pediasure Fills in Nutritional Gaps

For any parent, the worry of their child not eating right and missing out on nutrients is all too common. It may look like a lot of hard work in making sure that your child does, but there are several simple solutions to that worry. Nutritional supplements can be used to fill in what is missing from regular food. Here is how Pediasure, a complementary food that has been scientifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of a child, promote growth.

 

Has the Essentials

To cover any nutritional gaps your child might have, Pediasure has been formulated with 37 essential nutrients (eg. Protein, Carbohydrates, Calcium, Iron, Folate, Fiber) to support bone and muscle growth. It also has over 28 vital vitamins (eg. Vitamin A, C, B 12, D, E) which will help your child’s growth catch up and be at their best. Since building propper immunity early is important, Probiotics and Prebiotics properties of the supplement supports immunity through gut health. The gut is further supported with a scientifically designed lipid profile and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which improves nutrient absorption.1, 2

 

Triple Protein Complex TripleSure

Growing bodies need all the help they can get. Especially needed in the muscles since they will be constantly stretched, broken and repaired because of rapidly developing bodies of children. A Pediasure exclusive TripleSure , a specially synthesised Triple Protein Complex, delivers the 37 essential nutrients, a variety of vitamins and minerals to give children the best chance in growing during their early developing years. A regime of Pediasure can potentially improve appetite and reduce picky eating tendencies because of it.1, 2  

 

Convenience

Pediasure comes in various flavours and formats so that parents can choose what best fits their child’s needs or taste and texture preference. Majority of Pediasure nutritional supplements are lactose free, gluten free, no added preservatives, and no trans fats so it is suitable for kids with some allergies and specific deity needs. Though serving size can be adjusted to needs, it is recommended to serve 2 to 3 servings per day by adding 5 scoops per 190ml of water. As always, before making any nutritional changes to children’s diets, consult a Pediatrician or any related Medical Professional for a more assured plan.1, 2 

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/child-nutrition/fun-with-nutrition/filling-nutritional-gaps
  2. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/what-is-pediaSure/optimal-nutrition

 


Food Replacements so your Kid Does Not Miss Out on Important Nutrients

Food Replacements so your Kid Does Not Miss Out on Important Nutrients

A child’s taste profile is ever growing and they may have aversions to some foods, even if it is good for them. As a parent, you worry that  your child may not be getting all the essential nutrients and struggle to find replacements for those foods. There are plenty of replacements, but before you start feeding your child those, first adopt a positive attitude and be a good role model. Instead of saying your child hates certain things, say that they are willing to try new things instead.

 

Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Broccoli, Carrots – what those vegetables have in common are that they are all good sources for Vitamin A, C, and K. These vitamins support vision, immunity, and act as antioxidants. Your child may refuse to eat these due to their color and green vegetable aroma. If your child lacks these, they may get weak bones, poor dental health, and easily fall ill. Replace with – sweet potatoes, oranges, various fruits, or even try different formats of the ones they do not like.1

 

Fish and Seafood – Most often because of their fishy and oceanic aroma, children do not like eating fish or seafood. Seafood is rich in protein , selenium (an antioxidant), and Omega-3 Fatty Acid. They are important for cells, muscles, repairing damage, and overall development. Sources for these are easily replaced with red meat, chicken, cheese, eggs, nuts, legumes, and fish oil supplement options.1

 

Milk and Cheese – Most commonly associated with being a good source of Calcium, Vitamin D, and healthy Fats for muscle, nerve, blood, and bones. They are also for getting other nutrients around the body. If your child cannot tolerate dairy products, aside from intolerance and allergies, try replacing them with lighter versions of milk, other fortified drink options, enriched oils, and nut butters.1

 

Bread, Oatmeal, and Pulpy Fruits – As well as many other vitamins and minerals that may help reduce the risk of heart issues and obesity, these are good sources of fiber. Fiber helps keep your child fuller longer and move things around in the body, ie. helps prevent constipation. You can replace these items with a plethora of fortified foods, flavored cereal, plain biscuits or crackers, rice, and homemade no added sugar fruit popsicles.2

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/healthy-eating-tips/want-to-win-over-a-child/yuck-o-meter
  2. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Kids-Need-Fiber-Heres-Why-and-How.aspx

Sensory and Behavioral Feeding Issues in Kids

Sensory and Behavioral Feeding Issues in Kids

Picky eating, also known as food selectivity, to a degree, is where a child may prefer a taste of one food over the other. For example, they may eat beef, but not like the flavour of goat. Another scenario is also having a preference for fried meat versus boiled vegetables in soup.

 

Sensory eating problems meanwhile are caused by the discomfort of eating a food item and feeling averse to its texture. The sensitivities may also extend to a food’s smell sometimes.

In fact, it goes on a deeper level than simply not liking something and even regard eating food as a negative experience.1 2, 3

 

What features are common with sensory and behavioral feeding issues?

 Sensory – If you notice your child chewing their food for too long, holding food in their mouth without attempting to swallow, taking more time than necessary to finish food, or simply refusing to touch or go near food, there may be more serious issues and a pediatrician or other medical professionals should be consulted.2, 3

Behavioral – Sensory and behavioural issues can be intertwined. Behaviours like acting out during meal time and resisting to sit still when they are able to. Or outright refusing to eat even under parental threats, throwing food, screaming, vomiting on purpose or insistent complaining to get out of eating can all stem from a sensory issue they may have.2, 3

 

How to cope

Going out to restaurants or other types of eating events are stressful to both the parent and the child who has sensory and behavioral feeding issues. Here are a couple of suggestions to cope2, 3:

 

  1. Do not pressure – Your first reaction would be that they eventually have to eat that particular food because that is all they are going to get. For a child with sensory issues, food is seen as pain so treating that pain with fear will not improve the situation. Allow your child to explore at their own pace with monitoring and steering in the most favorable direction.2, 3

 

  1. Get your child analyzed – Sensory and behavioural are intertwined, but can also be a medical issue. Oral, digestive or nutritional deficiencies are all possible causes of food refusal. While it is ultimately best to get your child analyzed by a Medical Professional, in the meantime, talk to your child and let them know that you understand their distress.2, 3

 

  1. Ease into trying new things – Mix it up and experiment to slowly ease away their aversions. Cooking meals together will also give them a hands-on experience to familiarize with new textures or transform old ones they previously feared. Easiest order to get them used to a food is first by smell and then progress to touch with hands or mouth. If they have gotten past the smell, then try to get them to take a bite and eventually swallow. Praise and reward them long the way.2, 3

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/healthy-eating-tips/want-to-win-over-a-child/other-feeding-issues
  2. https://researchautism.org/its-not-picky-eating-5-strategies-for-sensory-food-sensitivities/
  3. https://yourkidstable.com/sensory-processing-and-picky-eating/

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