Tips for Handling Fussy Eaters
If your children are fussy eaters, mealtimes can feel like a warzone. It’s common for children’s tastes to change, particularly until they’re four years old, so we know how you feel if you’re tearing your hair out because of their pickiness. This short article gives you our top tips for parents handling fussy eaters.
1. Mix it up
Avoid giving your children the same meal two days in a row, if possible. This is particularly important for fussy eaters. This will help get your children into the habit of eating different foods, making them more amenable to trying things that they might think they don’t like. A good way to enhance variety in children’s mealtime is for schools to ensure they have diverse offerings. This can be made possible with school lunch delivery services. It’s also advised to talk to your little ones about this, saying things like, “I know you like tomatoes, but you had them with your lunch yesterday. Today, we’re having cucumbers, but you can have tomatoes again tomorrow.”
2. Start small
Whether you’re aiming for a healthy breakfast for kids, or for them to eat more veggies at dinner time, you need to start with small portions. Most parents make the mistake of trying to get their children to eat a ‘normal’ amount of whatever it is that they’re picky about. This won’t work. If you want them to eat carrots, for example, start with a single piece of diced carrot. Tell them something like, “This is easy; it’ll be over in a second.” Then, when they eat it, give them something they do like. Next time, give them a bit more carrot and gradually build it up over time to a standard serving size.
A child needs to taste a food many times - potentially up to 15 times - before they like it. This is because it takes taste buds multiple attempts to get used to something new. Therefore, don’t give up if your kids don’t eat something the first couple of times you give it to them. If you’re concerned about a family mealtime being spoiled because your child makes a fuss with new food, then use snack time to introduce something new instead.
4. Involve them
This is perhaps the most important tip of all. There is lots of research that shows the benefits of children being involved in food preparation with their parents. Not only is it a positive bonding experience, but they also learn about hygiene and safety in the kitchen. As the parent of a fussy eater, the most beneficial tip to you is that children who help with cooking a meal are likely to be proud of their achievement. This, in turn, makes them all the more likely to eat it afterward.