6 Tips and Tricks for Parents of Fussy Eaters
If your child is a fussy eater, then don’t worry – you’re not alone. The term known as “faddy eating” involves children refusing to eat fruit or vegetables, asking for the same food at each meal or only eating fruit of a certain colour.
Most parents will experience their child being a fussy eater at some point as they grow up, and although you want nothing more than to give your child a healthy and nutritious meal, it can often feel impossible.
Here are some great tips to prevent future mealtime battles:
Don’t Force it
It can be very frustrating if your child isn’t hungry or simply doesn’t want to eat, but instead of trying to make them eat whatever is on their plate or bribe them with other foods, just don’t force it.
If you try and make your child eat when they don’t want to or eat something they don’t want to, you are more likely to just end up in a power struggle or find your child develops meal time related anxiety.
Create a Routine
And stick to it. Giving your child their meals and snacks at the same time each day will help their body learn when they should be eating and will help them to develop a good routine.
Don’t give your child too many snacks or filling drinks such as juice or milk throughout the day though, as this may actually leave them feeling full by the time you want them to eat a meal, meaning they are more likely to resist the food on their plate.
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Very young children like to explore their food through touch or taste, and may put something in their mouth and then just take it out again. They may need to try a few food a few times before they become comfortable with it, so just be patient.
Encourage your child to eat different foods by talking about them in a positive manner – it may help if you take the first bite too, as children love to imitate their parents.
Meal times should be fun and exciting, not something your child doesn’t enjoy and feels anxious about. Try and make the food they eat as fun as possible by using bright colours and cutting it into fun shapes.
You can play games at meal times too that involve food, just make sure the end result is them eating the foods you want them to. Try and get your child to participate in the food preparation if they are old enough, as this will make them feel more involved when it comes to sitting down to eat.
Don’t Use Rewards
By offering dessert as a reward for eating their main course, you are instantly giving children the impression that dessert is a better food than what you are trying to make them eat for their main course.
Don’t give them dessert every day or they will begin to expect it. If you do want to give them something sweet after their main course, then make sure it’s something healthy such as fruit and yoghurt.
Think about the different ways you can add healthy ingredients to some of their favourite foods. If you are going to give them a bowl of spaghetti, then think about the different vegetables you can mix in.
If your child loves cereal, then put some fruit slices on top – you will be amazed how many different types of fruit and veg you can mix into other dishes you already eat regularly.
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