Put your hand up if you’ve got a fussy eater in your house…
I’m pretty sure every parent has and man can it be frustrating!
Something we need to understand is that there is a whole process that can come before a child tries and actually likes a particular food.
Remember when you first gave your baby solids? I’ll bet it was a slow process to start.
Maybe a spoonful one day, then a spoonful the next, trying out each food one at a time.
They probably stuck their tongue out a lot, pulled funny faces and even maybe spat it out. There was probably a lot of mess too.
But I’ll bet you persisted didn’t you? And it’s exactly the same even now that they’re older…patience and persistence is key.
Here are a few tips to help you manage fussy eating:
- Get them involved: You can never start too young when it comes to getting your kids involved in choosing and preparing meals. Even when they are babies, have them with you in the kitchen (always remembering safety around the stove etc of course) and talk to them about what you are making. As they get older have them help out by pouring, stirring and chopping ingredients. Getting children exploring and understanding food is the basis for healthy eating choices.
- Start at the beginning: Remember your parents telling you not to play with your food? Well, that no longer applies. Playing with their food; touching it, feeling it and getting familiar with it is the first step to introducing a new food. Start by just putting a small amount on your child’s plate; every single night. The first few times they might just look at it, the next time they might pick it up and squish it or smell it…just keep dishing it up, no pressure and one day they might just try it!
- Make it fun: Peas make you run fast, broccoli gives you muscles, ninja turtles love carrots…just a few of the little white lies we tell our son to encourage him to eat his veggies. Have fun with food, present it in interesting ways; use cookie cutters, novelty cutlery, colour and clever arrangements.
- Don’t force it: Forcing your kids to eat something or getting frustrated when they won’t just doesn’t help anyone. Again, patience and persistence is the key. Sometimes the bigger deal we make of things the more children will resist (see point above about making it fun!)
- And this: If you’re worried that your child isn’t getting enough nutrients try sneaking it in. It’s still important to continue to try giving your child whole fruits and vegetables (remember the point about getting familiar with new foods) but until they choose to eat it you can just get creative! Grating veggies into spag bol and sausage rolls are my go to or making fresh juice with whole fruit is a good way to still get those important nutrients in.
Have you got a fussy eater living in your house?
How do you manage it?
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