Cynthia Andriani, M.Sc: Picky Eating | Raising Parents #29

In this episode, host Dina Sargeant is joined by Cynthia Andriani, a working-studying mom & wife, passionate about food research, science, kids, people, and social issues, especially malnutrition

The picky eating habits of children can develop due to different parenting styles. Parents play a role in making mealtime fun by using the right strategies to establish healthy eating habits.

Meet Cynthia Andriani

Cynthia Andriani is a working-studying mom & wife, passionate about food research, science, kids, people, and social issues, especially malnutrition. Her background in food research made her a former food safety specialist for multinational retailers and a co-founder of a food consulting company for SMEs in Indonesia. She studies Physics as an Industrial Ph.D. student at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

About the episode

For many reasons, children frequently display picky eating habits that can be confusing. Parents significantly impact a child’s nutrition through their choices and habits during the early stages of parenting. 

According to Cynthia, excessive freedom, and overly restrictive approaches can contribute to the development of selective eating behaviors in children. Expectant parents must be mindful of their parenting styles, as these choices can significantly impact their child’s relationship with food.

One of the unavoidable reasons for picky eating habits in a child is teething. Though it is a normal phase, it can develop into a habit, leading to weight changes and lack of nutrition. Cynthia shared that being aware of the potential impact on eating habits during this phase allows parents to make informed decisions that contribute to their child’s overall well-being.

Parents are the primary influencers in a child’s life, especially regarding eating habits. Children often mirror the behaviors they observe in their parents. Hence, fostering healthy eating habits requires parents to lead by example. By embracing a balanced approach to food and meal times, parents can instill positive behaviors that resonate with their children.

Cynthia emphasized that one common mishap in parenting involves using food as a reward or punishment. This practice can create negative associations with meal times and contribute to the development of picky eating habits. 

Here are some of  Cynthia’s tips for parents to help their children embrace a more balanced diet:

  • Incorporate a diverse range of foods and engage children in sensory play. 
  • Expressing appreciation for their choices and involvement in dining reinforces positive behavior. 
  • Being creative in presenting foods in different shapes adds an element of fun to the dining experience, making it more appealing for children.

Creating an environment where mealtime is a cherished family ritual is crucial. Encouraging regular family meals fosters a sense of connection. Minimizing distractions and engaging in meaningful meal interactions contribute to a positive atmosphere. This not only enhances the dining experience but also facilitates healthier eating habits.

In conclusion

Understanding the balance between parenting, nutrition, and selective eating habits is essential. As new parents begin raising their children, it’s important to be aware of their impact, adopt balanced strategies, and steer clear of typical mistakes to help develop positive and lasting eating habits in their kids.

Giving them the autonomy to make choices within a supportive structure is crucial. Parents can help their children develop healthier eating habits by creating a positive atmosphere during meals.

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