“Eat please” this is what a women says most of her life, ever since she become a mother. This saying causes frustration among women and children as well. However all worries about eating and food quality are totally justified.


A recent study from the Erasmus MC-University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands revealed that when children are more likely to be fussy eaters if a parent had anxiety or depression during pregnancy or early in the child’s life. According to the study, there is also some evidence that when a child continues to be a fussy eater there can continue to be additional health problems. Previously, fussy eating has been tied to constipation, weight problems and behavioral problems.


However scientist have not managed to understand what influences fussy eating, but they have identified a relationship between mothers’ anxiety and depression during the child’s life and their children’s fussy eating.” Nevertheless researchers didn’t know whether anxiety and depression likely led to fussy eating, or if fussy eating led to mothers’ mental health problems.


For the new study, the researchers used data from the Generation R study, which followed pregnant women living in Rotterdam who delivered their child between April 2002 and January 2006. Mothers and fathers answered questionnaires about their anxiety and depression during pregnancy and again when their children were three years old. The parents then reported about their children’s eating behaviors at age three and four years.


The researchers confirmed that 30 percent of children of 4,746 mothers were fussy eaters. Overall, the researchers found that mothers’ anxiety and depression during and after pregnancy were tied to an increased risk of their children being fussy eaters. Scientists revealed that fussy eating is usually a normal phase of development. It usually peaks around two years and declines during childhood.” However, there are some children in whom fussy eating persists and therefore they do not get sufficient quality food.


Meanwhile, a study by Duke University’s medical school in the US found that being overly picky when it comes to food could be a sign of underlying anxiety or depression. Some expert suggested spiralizing vegetables, teaching children mindfulness and always eating together as a family. Others advise parents to be persistent when trying to get toddlers to eat but not be violent.


According to experts, babies have heightened senses and so they need to touch, taste and smell things around them and this includes food. Babies spit out food or make faces to certain flavors or textures but parents should not assume that the baby doesn’t like it as parents need to keep reintroducing this as it might be the initial experience. Parents must avoid staring at their child while waiting for them to try foods for the first time, so they don’t feel self-conscious – and to introduce vegetables before sweet treats in the early stages.


Mothers must put small amounts of food on the plate and don’t force their children to eat it. Children must not be overwhelmed but instead encouraged. Other experts encourage week monitoring of food intake for children. Experts warn against bribing or threatening children to eat at mealtimes, encouraging them to keep trying foods instead. If children do not like vegetables such as broccoli or spinach, they should be engaged in the process of cooking. So children are more involved and it seems that they are in control. Vegetables in green color can be masked with other products hence becoming more edible.


What not to say to a fussy eater


There are platefuls of power and attention to be gained from not eating something. So if you want to avoid tantrums around the dinner table, resist the urge to utter the following sentences …


“Eat your broccoli please”


They’ve eaten everything else on their plate but the broccoli is just sitting there, untouched, going cold and limp before your eyes and screaming at you to tell them to eat it. Don’t do it. A study of university students whose parents had insisted they ate a food as a child found that 72% of them now didn’t eat that food. It emerged that they perceived the parent as the “winner” and themselves as the “loser”. Now that they’d left home and it was up to them, they chose to “win” by not eating it.


“No desert unless you eat more of your dinner”


Do not use deserts as a bribe or a threat. We know most kids will do anything for a sugar hit. But not only are you showing your desperation, you’re giving them a thoroughly unhelpful message: eating the savory bit is a chore. Unenjoyable. Something you just have to endure to get to the sweet bit – which is flipping delicious and the bit worth getting to.


“But you like/don’t like that”


If you tell your children that they like sausage and therefore they should it it, they won’t eat it. Tell them they don’t like something and they’ll stop eating it. Not only are you putting them in a position of power.


“You won’t grow big and strong if you don’t eat your meat”


Kids absolutely need to learn about healthy eating, but the dinner table isn’t the place for it. Therefore they should learn about the values of fish, orange, broccoli and meat somewhere else and not as he/she is getting ready to it.


“I don’t care if you don’t eat it. I just want you to at least try it”


Mothers are pissed off when children refuse to eat a meal before they’ve even tasted it. Back off. Breathe. Do not forget that kids are naturally curious creatures – even about food. Mothers must work to ignite their curiosity and not the opposite. ” Mummy loves carrots, will you try them” If you say this it would be equal to saying


“Pleeeease eat some”


Be a good role model by all means. Eat your salad. Try new things. Don’t have cake for breakfast. But don’t point it out to them. Let it work by osmosis.


“You’re such a fussy eater!”


Do not ever say this to your child. It gives them the perfect excuse: no one is expecting me to eat this. I’m a fussy eater. I can’t help it. Don’t let them catch you telling anyone else either. You can tell your mother, mother in law and friends but never in front of the kids.