We have all been there, watching other parents with their kids eating everything on the plate. All the veg, all the dodgy texture foods – even sushi! These moments can be heart breaking when you have a fussy eater. I asked some of the best parenting bloggers around for their top tips on fussy eaters. You can also check out our other healthy eating tips here.
Vicki, from Blossom Education says: I have one reasonably fussy eater who has sensory issues. I regularly encourage her to try new foods and she does. Most of the time, she dislikes them, but occasionally, we have a win where she likes both the flavour and the texture. Of course, by the next time, she might have changed her mind. I think regular encouragement and avoiding getting angry are key things to ensuring they do try new things.
Josie says: We used to have a “no thank you plate”. We’d serve the meal on one plate but give an empty plate as well so that our very fussy daughter could put anything she didn’t want on the “no thank you plate”. We found that being able to take off the things she didn’t want gave her some control and made her more willing to try things because she knew she could move them to the other plate if she didn’t like them. Check out more of Josie’s tips here.
Vicky says: I recommend using the familiar to introduce the unfamiliar. So give them a meal they love and add a new vegetable or different meat or fish to help ease them into it. Check our more of Vicky’s great ideas here.
Hanna from Little Snippets says :My daughter is a fussy eater – my biggest tip, that has worked for us, is scaling back on new foods and I don’t pressure her to eat certain things or try new things. Every so often I will introduce a new food, and make it fun. So we’ll have a carrot crunching competition or a pea popping party. I also talk to her about nutrients, now she is 5, and she likes the idea that different foods contain different nutrients that are like superpowers for her body. (I also give her a multivitamin which gives me slight peace of mind on days when it feels like not much has been consumed)
Jenny from Life and the Lords has a great tip: I’ve found the best way is to all sit down together and eat the same things, encourage them to eat off your plate and don’t force them to eat what they don’t want or to finish every mouthful.
Maxine from Almost the Weekend says: My son was an incredibly fussy eater from weaning onwards. When introducing a new food, I found putting a small amount of it on a plate next to things he already liked worked best. That way it’s not as overwhelming. Getting them involved in food prep can help too. As hard as it is, try not to stress too much and just keep going! The good news is he’s 9 now and still dislikes quite a few foods but he’s usually willing to try most things these days.
Jacqui says : have a very particular 10-year-old, and we’ve struck a deal – she has to at least try one mouthful of a new food and if she genuinely doesn’t like it, I won’t insist she eats any more of it. She still vetoes a lot, BUT this way she occasionally discovers something she really likes that she’d never have tried otherwise. It’s a compromise we can both live with!
Claire from Money Saving Central shares: One of my twins is a terrible eater. I find it much harder because they’re twins, I obviously want to cook the same meals, but one will barely eat a thing. I used to think it was the parent’s fault when I saw kids who wouldn’t eat anything, but I now know from experience it’s 100% down to the individual child. Over the year’s I have found that gentle encouragement and bribery are the best way to get her to try things, but I never make her have it again if she says she doesn’t like it, as I find forcing them makes them even worse and stops them wanting to try anything else.
Maria says: Children maybe more inclined to eat food if they’ve been involved in the preparation of it. Make cooking fun, involve them in chopping ingredients, plating up and laying the table. Try to make dinner time as enjoyable and relaxing as possible! For more great tips click here.
Jen suggests growing fruit and veg with your children to get them used to different foods. Check out her great ideas here.
We hope you have enjoyed our tips for fussy eaters, please do visit the other sites for even more tips and tricks.