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Do I need to worry about my daughter's eating habits?

Q: My five-year-old daughter is very intelligent and active, but she does not eat any vegetables or anything that is spicy. She is happy eating curd rice or plain dal and rice every day. With this I end up shouting at her at every meal. She is very playful and does not even finish her food on time. Lately, she has lost enough weight and has become skinny, too. Should I be worrying about her eating habits or just let her be? Both my husband and I try to explain things to her in a nice way, but she does not listen to us, and we end up shouting and she starts crying. I am afraid the way I shout might have a negative effect on her. How do I deal with her?

A:Children thrive on food without spices. Please do not insist on your child eating food of your taste. These days doctors prescribe less spice for children. It is perfectly OK for her to eat curd and rice and dal and rice. Vegetables can be served a little at a time. Keep bland food for her, taking it off separately before you add spices. She should have a choice of what vegetables she eats. Potatoes, tomatoes, beans and carrots are usually liked by children. Sometimes you can make a nice (without spice) soup or mild chutney made of some herbs and vegetables. You can add some vegetables in the parantha or roti. More than anything else, stop shouting at your child. Talk to her softly and in a friendly way. She can be persuaded to eat. Mealtimes should not be a battleground! Bring up your child in a happy and joyful way. Let her enjoy being with you and you will realise that parenting is a privilege, not only a duty.

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