Fussy eating is a very common in young children, many children go through a stage of being picky – it is part of developing their personality and independence. It can be very frustrating, but I want to reassure you that there are some tips you can try to help diversify your child’s diet. The main thing is to ensure, despite the problems you have been having, that your child is still growing well. It is a good idea to weigh children and monitor their growth regularly. A visit to your doctor, well baby clinic or dietitian may be helpful to set you mind at ease.
Tips for dealing with picky eaters:
- Set a good example, make sure the whole family eats well.
- Try to sit together as a family to eat.
- Remove distractions during meals e.g. games, toys or TV.
- Praise your child for trying new food, if they won’t taste a new food this time – offer it again later.
- Never stop giving your child a food because they don’t like it – rather keep offering it presented in different ways.
- Make sure that your child doesn’t full up on too much fluid before a meal.
- Encourage your child to help with cooking and shopping – they may be more inclined to eat if they’ve helped to choose or prepare the meal.
- Patience is vital – if your child won’t eat, don’t get angry, but don’t offer alternatives. Just clear away the plate calmly and start again at the next meal.
- Encourage your child to feed themself with finger foods or small manageable pieces.
- Serve a variety of foods at each meal to allow your child to get used to a wide range of flavours and textures.
- If your your child has friends, cousins or playmates who eat well – arrange for them to play together over meal times – your child may be more willing to try new foods if they see other children eating them.
Consider keeping a food dairy for your child over a few days to see exactly what they take in over the whole day – you may be pleasantly surprised by how much they eat, especially if they graze through the day. Pay special attention to what your child drinks. A food diary is also a good way to check that they’re having a variety of foods.