5 Tips to Help you Deal with Fussy Eaters
Whether it’s a tantrummy toddler tackling the terrible twos or an edgy adolescent experimenting with a vegan phase, these tips can help you deal with fussy eaters.
Swap Pressure for Patience
While it may feel instinctive, pressuring a fussy eater to finish their plate or taste a particular food often backfires. It can create a negative association with mealtime and may even reinforce their resistance. Instead, offer a variety of foods and allow your child to explore them at their own pace. Be patient and understanding, recognising that it may take multiple exposures to a new food before they are willing to try it.
Make Mealtime Memorable (for all the right reasons)
Establishing a positive and relaxed atmosphere during meals can make a significant difference. Avoid mealtime battles, arguments, or negative comments about food. Instead, focus on making mealtimes enjoyable and stress-free. Encourage conversation and bonding at the table, and minimise distractions such as TV or electronic devices.
Perfect Planning and Preparation
Engaging your child in the meal preparation process can pique their interest in food and make them more open to trying new things. Let them participate in selecting recipes, shopping for ingredients, and even helping with cooking tasks appropriate for their age. This hands-on involvement can increase their sense of ownership over their meals.
Variety is the (Sugar and) Spice of Life
Expose your child to a diverse range of foods from an early age. Introduce new fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains regularly. Keep in mind that children’s tastes can change over time, so continue offering previously rejected foods periodically. Encourage them to explore different cuisines and flavours to expand their palate.
Eating by Example
Finally, children often mimic the behaviour of their parents and caregivers. Set a positive example by showcasing your own healthy eating habits. Demonstrate your enjoyment of a wide range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When your child sees you savouring nutritious foods, they are more likely to follow suit.
What are your top tips for dealing with fussy eaters?