Often, having to eat fish, vegetables or vegetables becomes a nightmare for many children (and also for their parents). Most parents come up with a thousand and one strategies to get their children to eat broccoli, chickpeas or hake without complaining; something that can be exhausting.
The big question is, what happens if they do not eat them? Will they have any deficiencies (in Spanish)? Can they even become sick due to lack of nutrients?
Not really. The body of children, and that of adults, does not need all food. What it does need however, is to ingest, through one food or another, the nutrients needed to stay healthy and grow.
Thus, more than the need to eat fish in the form of sardines, for example, what you need to eat are the proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins that this contributes to the diet.
But since there is no food that carries absolutely all the nutrients that are needed by them alone, it is important to make a diet as varied as possible.
Do they flat out refuse?
When a child refuses to eat a dish because they say they do not like it, (what we call food neophobia) do not let them win as it is not good to skip family habits to suit their preferences.
Under no circumstances should you change the dish, offering another they like. Likewise, when this happens, we must not allow the child to snack between hours. Altering the diet to satisfy their demands will only get them to lose their nutritional balance (in Spanish), and at the same time, our authority as parents. However, there is no need to be angry with them by making food a topic of discussion. If they refuse to eat the starter, move on to the second and vice versa.
Change green sauce for red sauce
A good exercise is to cook the “conflictive food” in various ways, provided the child does not associate it with a particular technique. Sure cod with pilpil sauce is delicious, but if they do not accept it maybe you should try another sauce that they know better, like a tomato sauce or baked with potatoes. You can vary the technique, but not the food, and in this way they become used to it. You also have to try to put the food they dislike first on the menu, because if they come hungry there are more chances that they will like it. Another idea is to leave it as an accompaniment so that it is more unnoticed. If they cannot eat a whole dish of beans, serve them as a side dish of their favourite dish, and so they will associate them with something delicious.
Having said that, it is possible that your child really cannot stand eating a specific food (it also happens to us adults). If the aversion persists, or there is a problem of intolerance, it is time to substitute this food for another that provides similar nutrients: yogurt or cheese instead of milk, rice instead of noodles, nuts and pulses for meat, etc.
Sources and further information:
La cocina de la salud (Planeta)
“Més enllà dels macarrons” (Mina)