Fussy eaters can lead parents to despair but children may well feel miserable and unhappy about food too so they need encouragement without it becoming a battle of wills. It is also worth remembering that children will go through fussy stages as they develop and become more independent.
Here I discuss how to help children fall back in love with food again.
Some important things to remember:
Don’t turn a meal into a battle ground. Many parents that I work with freely admit that they get stressed and frustrated at mealtimes, but it is important not to get stressed as this will affect the child and it can turn into a battle of wills
Try not to change everything at once, making gradual introductions to new foods. For example, if you want to encourage your child to eat more vegetables serve them regularly so that the child becomes used to being offered them
Eat with your children. It is so important for them to see you eat well because this will encourage them to follow suit
Top 5 tips to encourage children to try new foods:
Try to offer as many different varieties of foods to your child from a very early age
Get children involved in preparing food like cracking eggs, mixing food in bowls, etc. Getting involved can increase their interest in food and stimulate a child’s senses and appetite
Mealtimes are very visual so also have some colourful plates, cutlery, lunch boxes to make meal times fun and interesting
If you have space in your garden, grow your own. You just need some pots to be able to grow a few vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots etc. Even cress on a window shelf is a great idea. If children are able to look after their vegetables, water and watch them grow - it can really help to encourage them to eat
Visit a farmer’s market, supermarket and also teach them about where food comes from
Finally, children will eat when they are hungry (unless your child has an eating disorder or developmental issues) so, it is imperative that you don’t allow them to snack freely in between meals.
Please note that this article is aimed at children who are moderately fussy. If you are worried about your child eating very little or are worried about their weight, it is important that you seek advice from your doctor.
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Please note this post is not sponsored by EatWell-Uk (I have used them with great success with my own children and owner Sarah, is a local mum).