written by The Intellects Mag October 6, 2022


In our healthy living column, we have talked about eating right and in this post, Chinonso Ezeifeka has shared how parents can deal children’s food preferences that often result in rejection of  foods and the efforts that was put into making the food. Read what Chinonso who used to reject food as a child has to say as an adult below.

Food freedom


A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a social media post, and a mother asked, “what can she do to a five-year-old who rejected his food simply because the food did not contain ‘ugba’ (Africa oil bean)?”

The post reminded me of my own food preferences and what ordeal I gave my mum with them. How I preferred certain food over others and rejected some in totality.

On my lucky days, my Mom would find me an alternative, while I go hungry on certain occasions.

But, while she succumbed to my wants on several occasions, she would say to me, “Nonso, you are doing this because you have an alternative, If you don’t have much to eat, you would settle for what you have.”

As a child, those words made little or no sense to me. All I wanted was my favourite meal. But, time began to explain those words to me, and as I grew older, I began to understand.

One day, I was at the timber shed in Zaria, and I saw children rustle for a handful of rice. I remembered my younger self, I remembered my mother’s words.

We choose when we have a choice.

How about children who have what to eat in abundance, should all their food wants be met? Is it proper to dispose of rice because the chef can quickly make noodles or reject a meal because caprison was not served with it?

Parents have great roles to play concerning a child’s choice of food.

Picking one food over another could be influenced by various factors, it could be taste, palatability, easiness to eat, allergy,  and quantity. Etc.

But, it doesn’t take away the fact that some children can eat practically anything edible, even when they have choices. While some are picky, even in scarcity.


food freedom


Forcing a child to eat what he/she dislikes is a call for pain and tantrums.

First, find out if there is any case of allergy. Allergy could play a role. But when allergy has been ruled out, do this.

1) Find out why such a child hates the said food. Let them see reasons not to eat such food should not be hated, stating its nutritional value and benefit. I was told coconut water can make a child dumb, and all through my childhood, I stayed away from coconut water. It was a lie, they simply don’t want to share. Who knows, I might be a beans lover if I was told it would make me grow taller and more handsome.
2) Study their eating pattern: growing up, I can spend all day eating a plate of beans, but in a matter of seconds my plate of rice is empty. Some children tend to pick out vegetables from their meals. When you notice, start taking the necessary steps.
3) You might want to spice things up. Prepare the favourite and the non-favourite, and serve the non-favourite first, promising to serve the favourite when they are done.
4) Use the rod when it is necessary.  (Not literally a rod, just discipline the child when you should).
5) Don’t always succumb to their preference. Be like my mother.
6) Tell them stories of children who are starving around the world. Be emotional about it. They will come around.
7) Teach them gratitude: Most parents default in this area. Interpret the food prayer to them. “Some have food, but they can’t eat, some can eat but have no food, we have food and we can eat. Glory to whatever you serve.”



A child’s food preference can be a big deal when handled inappropriately or with a soft paw. Go about it with wisdom. Even when you have it in abundance, don’t dance to their tune.
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1 comment

Kelechi October 6, 2022 - 9:36 am



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