Sunday, April 27, 2014

Managing a Picky Eater... Useful Tips for the Parents! #PediaSureMY

Recently I was invited to participate in PediaSure® Complete Liquid with Elite Formulation programme with my 5yo, where I was among the few bloggers who had the privilege to listen to the talk on nutrition by the child consultant pediatrician, Dr Chin Wai Seong, and the Medical Director of Abbott Nutrition, Dr Shaalani Ramachandran, who is a beautiful mother of 2.

Dr Chin runs Dr Chin'd Child Specialist Clinic in Kepong and ABC Child Specialist center in Bandar Utama. He is also among the few doctors who are certified by IMFed, an organization with the mission to ensure children are getting sufficient nutrition through right diet intake. 

A few take away that I got that day, first hands through the specialists.

#1 Generally there are 4 categories of picky esters: 
  • High selective in food intake
  • Fear of eating 
  • Very active but eat little
  • Poor appetite in child
If your little ones fall under the category of a picky eater, perhaps you may want to find the cause and the right ways that can help to make him/her be less fussy with food, or at least, increase the food intake.

#2 How to Tackle Picky Eaters?
  • Make use of their curiosity. Do not offer the food directly to the little ones. Instead, parent starts eating the food and only share with the little ones when they ask for a try. I have used this tactic on my little girl several times and it had never failed to work. :)
  • Let hunger speaks. Avoid serving snacks before meal time, when the kids get hungry they will want to eat. It's human instinct to seek for food when in hunger, if the little tummy is filled with food / snack, that "alarm" for food may not get triggered.
  • Burn their energy. At such tender age, the little ones have lots of energy to burn and it is only normal they remain active during meal time. So, invite them to play outdoor - run, kick, slide, jump, hop, skip, spin, dance etc before mealtime (and you get to burn some fat too! ;) When it comes dinner time they will be less active and able to finish the meal without creating a huge mess. Just imagine they are like the bunny powered byenergizer battery   (it's a popular ad when I was a kid!) - the bunny clapped fast and nonstop when battery was full, but as the battery depletes, bunny slowed down and eventually stopped. Kids are just pretty much just like the bunny!
  • Make use of visual impact. Serve the food (especially vegetables) in different presentation that is more enticing to the little ones. If they don't like big cubes, cut the veggie into strips, star shapes, geometrical shapes instead. Of all you know a little change of presentation may makes a lot of different.
  • Avoid Interference during mealtime. Turn off the TV, iPad, smart phone... let the little ones (and big ones) focus on eating the meal without distraction or having someone to constantly spoon feed. Use cutlery sets and bibs designed for toddler so they can learn proper table manners as they eat and at the same time get to work out their motor skills.

And here are my views.. 
  • Starts young - introduce a variety of food to the little ones since young avoid possibility of a picky eater in later stage, when they had been exposed to variety of taste, they will not find the particular food 'alien' to their taste buds.
  • Involves the little ones in the food preparation, such as washing veges, setting up tables, or some simple chores. The kids feel involved and motivated to eat the food they help prepared.
  • Let mealtime be enjoyable. We often do casual chat and share jokes during mealtime, our duo have their designated seats - little one on her IKEA high chair full of Disney stickers and elder boy has a high stool so he can eats at same level us, using their favorite placemats, BPA-free plastic bowls and cutleries. So they feel like they are part of us and at the same time get to learn table manners by us being the role models. When they finish their food we will give praise, like "look, E had ate up all the noodles without needing help, good job!", or, "C, you ate all the broccoli in your plate? I'm so proud of you!". Don't underestimate the power of encouragement, my duo often race to finish their mealtime nowadays. I recall Dr Chin shared the same message too, so we are definitely on the right track.. :)
  • Don't let meal time be stressful time. While I believe in teaching the little ones table manners, we shall also discourage scolding, forcing, or yelling during the mealtime which may lead to dislike or fear of meal time. Instead, offer them the child friendly utensil and let them learn to eat at their own pace & experience with the food. Touching, poking may be just one of the toddlers' way of learning his surrounding and his food in the early stage, it maybe messy (compare to having someone to spoon feed), but it's part and parcel of the learning experience. 

#3 Use the Right Assessment

One important point that I managed to clarify with Dr Chin - apparently there are different children growth chart for Asian, Western or Canadian healthy organization. It is only right to determine a child is under or over develop using the correct chart, instead of giving yourself unnecessary stress. Besides, there is an assessment toolkit provided by IMFed (short for Identification and Management of Feeding Difficulties), that aims to help pediatrician to correctly identify and manage picky eating habits among young children from 1 year onward, hence providing age-appropriate nutrition recommendation. 

You may visit IMFed website to understand more or check out the list of IMFed clinics near you, if you need to get professional consultation.

About The PediaSure® Complete Liquid with Elite Formulation Programme

Now, back to the programme. I have signed up my little Captain E for the PediaSure Complete Liquid programme, where he has been drinking 1-2 bottles of the supplement drink daily for past 3 weeks (now entering the end of 5th week as this is a very much delayed due to my busy work schedule...)

The drink is mainly designed for children age 1-10 who are picky eaters. It contains over 20 types of plants-extracted vitamins and minerals, and it is gluten-free, dairy-free, glucose-free, which makes it an ideal supplement drink for children with allergy to gluten, milk-based products, lactose intorelant or those who are experiencing diarrhea or food poisoning, where intake of diary products shall be avoided.

So, What's the verdict after 3 weeks trial?
To begin with, my little handsome is not a picky eater, he eats most of the food we prepared with exception of garlic and onion (which I often mixed into fried veggies / rice / patty so he doesn't even notice). I didn't signed up for my girl as she has great appetite and she eats almost anything, and she has been rather strong build for kids her age.  


At 5 years old, my little captain is 116cm and weigh 22.5kg, so he is considered rather tall according to the Asian children growth chart. There is no significant weight gain after the 3 weeks consumption, however I do noticed improve of appetite. He is eating a much bigger portion for his meal now and he will proactively ask for dinner stating that he's hungry. So if you ask me, this is definitely a good improvement. Imagine I used to face his question like - "do we have to eat now? I want to play"... Instead of now having him coming to me and says - "I am hungry, what's for dinner, mommy?"

Good change indeed huh. :)

One of the PediaSure supplement benefits is that it improves immunity. However my little captain rarely fall sick since he passed 4 years old, at most some fever but even that he recovered rather quickly. So I am not able to tell the extra benefits of immune booster by this supplement, he remains healty and active as he entered 5th consequtive week of consumption now.


As for the taste, I took few sips and I liked the vanilla taste, it's not too sweet and my little captain liked it too. On the other hand, my Princess C was not too fond of the drink unless I add some Choco powder into it, she is definely chocolate drink lover, probably mommy's gene is too dominant in her (me too is a chocolate monster.. ;)

However, according to Leona Lim, the new blogger friend I met at the event, her 5yo who usually only takes chocolate drink likes the vanilla flavor too and has been consuming it daily  (although he still prefers chocolate flavor if there is a choice, lol). You may check out Leonal's post here.

Note: PediaSure currently only offers vanilla flavor in Malaysian market, however chocolate flavor is available in Singapore.


Now, this is something worth mentioning. PediaSure uses BPA-free containers with screw on cap and aluminum foil seals to lock in the nutrition and reduces risk of contamination. The screw on cup makes it really convenient to bring for outing or pack into the school bags - no fear of leakage or breakage. Besides unfinished drink can be kept refrigerated up to 24 hours for later consumption (as informed by the PediaSure reps), anyway my little captain always finish the entire 8oz bottle in one serving, which is equivalent to 260ml. My baby C, on the other hand, only takes about 6oz milk so I would have to chill the remaining portion before serving to her later.

Besides, the plastic cap allows me to make marking with his name, in case it got mixed up with other preschoolers. I had so much fun decorating the cap each day, see what I've doodled here :)

He actually looked forward to the new bottle each day, since each doodling only took me 1-2 minutes, I really don't mind. :)

So, to sum it up..
This is my little ones' first time trying out PediaSure supplement, it changes my perception that it is only for the underweight, in fact it can be introduced as a daily supplement drink and alternative option when little ones are unwell or low appetite to ensure they have proper nutrition intake. 

So, will I continue to offer this drink to my little ones? Most probably, but may be on reduced frequency instead of daily consumption, and is definitely my ideal choice when going travel or picnic.

Where to find more info?

If you are interested to know more about the PediaSure supplement drinks and it's benefit, go here..

If you want to find out addressing habits of a picky eater, read on more on IMFed here. Or if you want to find out more info about Dr Chin, check out his profile here and practicing clinic here.

If you want to get some ideas on how to get your little ones to eat more, get some happy meals ideal here. A little change in presentation may makes a whole lots of different. ;)

And here are some snap shots of the pictures taken during the intimate brunch organised by Abbott Nutrition, where me and some parenting bloggers participated. 

(Photos below courtesy of Abbott Nutrition)

Dr Shaanila and Dr Chin, our friendly hosts for the day who provided much insights. 

My little boy made a new friend. :)

That's all peeps. Hope you find this post helpful!

The above sharing on PediaSure® Complete Liquid is solely based on my personal view on the product and observation on my kid for the 3 weeks period who doesn't have any known allergic, I am not the spokesperson for Abott Nutrition nor paid any benefits for writing this review except for the free samples provided. So, drink at your own will.. ;)


  1. To address to some readers' question: If you are interested to get the liquid supplement, they are currently available at AEON stores nationwide and some Chinese medicine halls.

  2. Hi,

    Much thanks for sharing this. Very informative.
    I have two lovely daughters who were underweight, despite negative reviews online, I decided to try giving Pediasure to my daughters. Thankfully it worked well on them. They started eating more and they have gained the ideal weight.

  3. Hi,
    Much thanks for sharing this, very informative!
    I have 2 daughters who were underweight. Despite all the negative information online, I decided to try Pediasure. Thankfully it worked well on my kids. They started eating more and they now have gained the ideal weight.

    1. Hi Porika, i am really glad that you find this post useful and really worked for your kids! Well done mommy... ;-)