Fussy Eaters : 10 Tips

My philosophy which extends beyond food, is to practice what you preach. The attitude I have towards food and what my children see me consume will inevitably influence their eating and how they relate to food. Tastes develop according to what is experienced, so exposure to food is important in a child’s early years.  If you want to expand your child’s repertoire start with small steps! Below are some tips that have worked for my family and will hopefully strike a cord with you:

  1. SWAPS: Start by swapping out one or two of the things they currently eat for more nutritious options. For example a better quality bread, spread, cheese or yoghurt.
  2. EATING WITH OTHERS: Children are often willing to try things outside their home, particularly if they see other children eating it or it is offered by someone other than their parents. Take turns with friends having an early kid’s dinner.
  3. MAKE MEAL TIME FUN: I want to associate coming together for a meal as a positive interaction. My son is at the age where he loves being silly, so we often bring his plate alive turning green beans into snakes, broccoli into trees etc.
  4. GROCERY VISIT: Take your child to greengrocer or local farmers market with you and explore the different array of fruits and vegetables. I suggest doing this outside big grocery haul so you can take your time. Let them choose a different fruit or vegetable to bring home.
  5. EXPOSURE: A lot of parent’s love recipes where ingredients are hidden, I do think there is a place for this. However, it is important for children to see the whole fruit or vegetable. Try and incorporate the whole food on their plate along with the meal, without the expectation that they will eat it!
  6. FOOD PLAY: Involve kids in the kitchen. We often cut up celery and carrot sticks and make train tracks/animal crossings, my kids love this game and the tracks do start disappearing.
  7. LESS IS MORE: Don’t serve too much on their plate, it can become overwhelming and off putting.
  8. PRAISE: Kids love positive reinforcement, so I do this throughout the meal when neccessary. For example, “You’re such a big girl now, you can feed yourself”, “You’re holding the fork so well”.
  9. MESSY EATING: Eating with kids can get messy, and if you like things ordered like me it can be difficult to let go. Let your kids get messy and don’t clean up before their finished. Let them eat and explore without interruption.
  10. TEXTURE: Become attuned to what textures your child likes. My son loves anything crunchy. Once you recognise this you can prepare meals with an element of crunch eg. instead of sweet potato mash I make sweet potato chips.

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