Fussy eating in children is common and can be frustrating for parents as they want to ensure their kids eat a healthy and varied diet. Likewise, children’s tempers can be ferocious, so it may seem like a battle to try and tackle this picky eating behaviour. However, there are some subtle ways that you can try to alter your child’s eating habits.
If you haven’t before, try making the same food for your little one as you are eating and see how they respond to it when they see you are eating the same meal. Make sure you don’t add salt to theirs because their kidneys are less developed to process it.
Your child may see that you are eating the same meal and decide to copy your eating behaviour, eating their food because they see you are enjoying it.
It is understandably frustrating to feel like you need to keep coming up with new meals for your child, especially if they don’t eat them. However, you must keep testing them and their taste buds; one day it will stick!
Also, while it may have a negative effect to force them to eat the food that they avoid, you can try to tempt them to eat a little bit of every component of the meal, this way they might start to like things gradually. Praise them for eating, even if only a little.
Take your time during mealtimes to make sure that your little one has had all the time they need to explore and play with their food before taking it away. It may take them time to build up the courage to try something new! In the grand scheme of things, patience with their eating journey is also very helpful as they may just need some extra encouragement.
Make dinner time a fun time for the family to come together to talk so that your child has positive associations with mealtimes and sees it as a fun, participatory environment.
You might find that you struggle to feed your child certain foods, maybe see if you can prepare them in a different way that might go down better. For example, they might not like eggs scrambled but love omelettes; most foods can be prepared in lots of different ways so experiment and see what they respond well to.
Here at Little Acorns Day Nursery, our childcare professionals encourage all children to eat at least a little bit of everything that is on their plate / in their lunchbox. We do this to encourage an open-minded attitude to eating and ensure that kids have as much variety in their diet as possible. If you want to find out more about our ways of navigating mealtimes at our nurseries and kids clubs, please contact us.