Fussy eaters: 7 do’s and don’ts

Seven easy-peasy tips to help with fussy eaters

You know how important it is to get your child to eat healthily, but sometimes they simply REFUSE! Here are some ideas to try…


BC (Before Children), mealtimes were to be enjoyed, perhaps with a glass of something cold and your favourite TV show.

Now they can be akin to a battle zone, and you’ll find broccoli behind the curtains weeks after you attempted to get your little darling to eat a floret or two.

But there are a few simple ideas you can try to help with fussy eaters. Hopefully a combination of some (or all!) of these will do the trick. Good luck – and let us know how you get on in the comments section below.


1. Let them follow your lead

Kids love to copy adults, so let them see how much you’re enjoying your healthy dinner (you can’t expect kids to eat leafy greens if you just have chips yourself, no matter how much you love them!). Let them try some food from your plate, or you could make a mini-version of your meal for them.

Also, don’t automatically ask for the kids’ menu in restaurants. Ask if main menu portions can be served smaller – this offers more exciting options and avoids reinforcing the idea that children should only eat “nursery food”.


2. Consider texture

Kids explore with their mouths, so they’re very sensitive to different textures. Quite often that face they pull when they eat something new is less to do with the flavour, and more with it being a texture they haven’t experienced before.

Experiment with how you serve fruit and veg – so crunchy strips of pepper, shredded carrot and spiralised courgette, for example. Something they may have turned their nose up before could suddenly become their favourite.


3. Make food fun

Smiley faces on pizzas, tacos they can build themselves, picnics on the lounge floor… yes it might get messy, but if you make dinner time feel like fun time, kids will enjoy the whole process a lot more.


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4. Involve them in the kitchen

Don’t be afraid to let your little one help out with the cooking process. Always supervise, of course, but they can help you get the ingredients out of the cupboards, mix things in a bowl or – even better – help with the washing up after. And with just a tiny squirt of Fairy Washing-Up Liquid creating millions of tiny bubbles, they’ll even enjoy it!

For more ideas on how to get kids excited about food, click here.


5. Don’t label them as a “fussy eater”

If you describe your child as a “fussy eater” they can latch on to that and might use it as an excuse for not trying new things, or it could make them more self-conscious.

If they don’t like something, it could just be down to the mood they’re in. So let them leave it, but don’t offer them an alternative. Instead, reintroduce the food they didn’t like in a few weeks’ time and see if they like it then.


6. Try not to bribe them

As hard as it is, if you treat pudding as the bribe, they’ll see the main course as the “boring bit” they have to get through, and they won’t want to finish it.

Instead, reframe it by saying if they’re not hungry enough for their main, they can’t be hungry enough for dessert, so they need to show how hungry they are by gobbling up their delicious dinner first.


7. Only serve water with their food

Milk or juice are fine between meals, but they can interfere with appetite and tastebuds if drunk with meals. Instead, just give them some water to help wash down their food.

Did these tips help, or do you have any of your own? Let us know in the comments section below.

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My eldest got terrible about eating veg,salad & other healthy food cooked for our family.Then also started refusing to eat things as the texture made him feel sick. So a fab tip for the cook.. where possible grate or blend veg to almost liquidisation & add to your homemade sauces toward the end of cooking for just a few mins before serving.This way they don't know they are there & they're getting the essential nutrients from their meal while enjoying their fav home cooked meals��

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Vashway

Vashway

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This will come in useful. My daughter has become a right fussy eater. She's gone from eating so much variety and stopping. She will soon be eight and barely eats any variety now.

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prawn

prawn

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Very helpful was the fussy eating xx

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DonnaMD

DonnaMD

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Great tips but does anybody have any tips to help my cousin with his 1 year old, he makes mealtimes a fight everytime and just wont hardly eat, he just closes his mouth and shakes his head or throws the food, the doc has said let him be but were really concerned hes not getting enough vitamins and nutrients.

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