I have always been a fussy eater. Even though I am a vegetarian, or ‘half-vegetarian’ as my husband likes to call me, I only eat a few veggies and insanely limited fruits. Being picky and a vegetarian,
Being one of the fussy eaters and a vegetarian, meaning that my childhood thrived on junk food, south Indian dishes, and occasional juices and salads. After marriage, to cook and cater to another picky ‘non-vegetarian’ was a task. We somehow conquered through it and then came our little bundle of mischief. With her, Kayra (my daughter), I did not want to make any of my mistakes.
Being the youngest of the lot and having absolutely zero experience of managing, or let alone ‘holding’ kids, Kayra has been my first in every way. Moreover, we live in a nuclear family and, like every parent, I wanted to raise her as the best child – who eats everything, adjusts in all conditions and grows up in a humble, loving environment. After two and half years of raising her, I believe I can say with some confidence that I have succeeded in achieving most of my desires.
How I Didn’t let My Baby Become One of Those Fussy Eaters
For picky eaters like my husband and me, we knew for sure Kayra should not take up on our habits of ‘poor’ eating. To achieve this we modified a few of our lifestyle habits and I created a food chart that I kept modifying every few months for raising a healthy child.
Six Months Onwards:
When Kayra turned six months, I was told by everyone to start feeding her solids, alongside her daily content of milk. I agreed and read up extensively before introducing her to real food.
- There were absolutely no purees in her diet.
- I started with simple soft cooked rice topped with ghee and as she grew up, started adding to it a few spoons of dal, sambar, and other pulses.
- She also had a glass of barley water and apple/beetroot juice every day, however with a little pressure.
- By the time she was ten months old, she enjoyed eating dal rice, oats, Rava Upma, idlis and occasional biscuits.
Twelve Months Onwards:
By the time she turned one, she ate more or less everything that we gave her. Despite being a Committed vegetarian, I agreed with my husband on making Kayra an Eggetarian by feeding her omelets and sunny side ups. This helped meet her protein requirements and kept her stomach full for longer.
She only had two or three teeth on her first birthday but that did not stop her from eating kebabs and chapatti. She ate most of our food with us and I believe that was a major achievement for that age.
Eighteen Months Onwards:
By now, Kayra was well into the chattering phase. Despite being so young, she is quite clear about what she wants to eat. For instance, when she wants to eat chapatti, she would come to me and say, “Mama, I want pati”. Similarly, she went through a phase of idlis and dosas, which I made daily till she eventually got bored of. Kayra also joined preschool by this age and with that came our very first food chart and menu that we had to follow.
She had given up her bottles by then and ate less spicy but regular Indian food. She too remains picky though. However, she does not like Poha and thalipeeth and enjoys different colored foods every day.
Thus, eventually came the chart I follow till date.
Twenty four months onwards:
As she started learning and recognizing colors, she insisted on different colors in her food every day. To appease her, I started cooking and experimenting with different food items and natural colors to excite her food routine.
Monday became Yellow day- Yellow (Makai/Corn) Roti, Yellow dal, and Rice, Turmeric idli, so on and forth
Tuesday became Pink day- Beetroot chapati, Pink dosas, Beetroot, Dal, and Rice
I coordinated each day with a different color and this made her look forward to what she was eating. Of course, it is not easy to appease a toddler’s picky appetite and despite the varied colors, she would at times not eat the food or demand something else. More or less, however, I came up with a chart which tried to have a balance of pulses, rice, wheat, fats and an occasional junk in the name of fries or cakes.
Now, she is almost thirty months old and, at present, going through a blue phase! You can almost imagine what I try to pass off as the color blue through our daily foods! But Thankfully she’s not a picky eater like the both of us.
Also, Thanks to Kayra, I have learned so many things – to be innovative, creative and correct all the mistakes within yourself so that your child does not inherit them! I truly believe that raising a tiny tot has helped me grow tremendously, not just as women but as a human being and a mother as well.
Check out these creative food ideas to make your baby’s meal time more fun-
And yes, like with every child, life with Kayra comes with its trying times but mostly I am so glad she’s there to finally change our lifestyles and life!
Thanks for Reading.
Do Share your Experiences you had while trying to feed your baby through various age groups in the Comments below.