If you are the parent of a fussy eater, we feel your pain.
If you are the parent of a fussy eater, we feel your pain. It is important to know that you are not alone. The majority of families have one or more fussy eater and it can be incredibly frustrating – especially if you have done nothing different with this kid.
We’ve researched the best advice from psychologists when it comes to the most effective ways of dealing with a fussy eater. Here are some of their top tips to help parents and we hope they will help you too.
- Relax. As hard as it is – kids pick up on anxiety so try to take a relaxed approach when talking about food so it isn’t a massive drama every time to subject comes up. If you are overly emotional the child will be in control.
- Do not force children to eat fruit and vegetables that they strongly dislike. Start with what they may have shown even a faint interest in at some point.
- Having meals as a family is really important. If children see everyone else eating and enjoying a variety of foods it’s more likely to interest them also.
- Ensure that portion sizes are small enough. Larger portions can instantly put some children off before they even try the food.
- Praise, Praise, Praise. Even if it’s just because they tried a tiny piece of something new.
- Encourage your children to get involved with cooking. It will make that meal a novelty affair and the focus can be on all the help you got to create the lovely dinner. There is a strong chance they will want to try IT if they’ve “overseen” the entire process.
- Incorporate food into other areas of learning such as when learning colours, shapes and sounds. It will help to normalise the idea of different foods.
- Pair favourite foods with not so preferred foods. Using sauces can make certain foods more appealing. You can also serve vegetables and fruit alongside their favourite foods to encourage them to have a small amount. With time more can be offered.
- Make sure that children are actually hungry. Could it be that your child is actually full from a lot of snacks before the meal?
- Leave healthy snacks accessible to children. When they are hungry they are more likely to want to try non-preferred items. For example, leaving a tub of carrot sticks or some cut up apple in the fridge at their level. It will encourage a sense of independence also.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at Family Friendly HQ.