6 Survival Tips to Deal with Fussy Eaters
Mealtimes can be far from the fairytale dream you envisioned
17 July 2017
As your children grow older, if you were hoping for the fairytale family mealtime you might be sorely disappointed. After all, parenting tends to throw curve balls at you at times, and one that might disrupt your dream mealtime vision is fussy eating.
Mealtimes are a great opportunity to spend uninterrupted quality time with your kids, for some parents feeding time doesn't exactly turn out the way you planned.
When you have a fussy eater on your hands, it's easy to get caught up in a battle of wills; but for most, it's just a phase, and there are some ways you can help to discourage their pickiness when it comes to food.
1. Introduce different foods as soon as possible
As early as possible, introduce different types of foods and flavours into your child's meal. For your older kids, make it fun and blindfold them - ask them to guess what the new food is. Instead of hiding vegetables or fruit in their meals, be open with them about it; give them facts about that particular food and explain why they're good for them to eat.
2. Praise them when they do eat something new
We all know how frustrating it can be as a parent to have cooked a nice, lovely meal only for your kid to turn their nose up at it. Instead of showing how you feel, praise them when they eat well or have tried something new. Focus your attention on their good behaviour, and we're sure your mealtimes will be less stressful and more enjoyable in no time.
3. Implement a reward scheme
Something like a sticker chart will work well for older children - place it in the kitchen for all to see, and begin by decorating it with pictures of their favourite things. Give them a sticker every time they eat a new food, and once they've collected so many, reward them.
4. Involve them in cooking their meal
A lot of children enjoy cooking, and will help with simple tasks like squeezing fruit or cracking an egg. You'll no doubt see that by involving them in the planning and prep of a meal, it can help to stimulate their appetite.
5. Avoid empty calorie snacks
This include things like crisps and soft drinks, so keep a nice supply of healthy snacks on hand... Helpful tip: on a low shelf in the fridge, keep a cup of fresh fruit or other healthy snacks so they can help themselves if they're hungry.
6. Make their food look good
If time allows, make your child's food not only taste good, but look good too. Lay out their meals on their plates in the shape of their favourite characters, or like a picture... You can even ask them to help you make it themselves! Lay out the ingredients in front of them and ask them to fold their own wraps, or choose their own toppings for a sandwich or pizza.