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.
WE CHOOSE WHEN WE HAVE OPTIONS
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.
HOW CAN YOU OVERCOME THIS AS A PARENT?
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.