Fussy eating can be a normal part of childhood, but it doesn’t need to be such a struggle. The following strategies may help you to avoid frustration and help fussy eaters try new foods and eat a more balanced diet.
1. No distractions
Don’t eat in front of the television, and turn off all devices. This will help your child to focus on the food they are eating, and they will naturally eat more.
2. Family time
Sit down as a family and aim to eat meals together. Make meal times as relaxed and enjoyable as possible, and set a good example for them by eating a variety of healthy foods.
Encourage your child to sit with you whilst you prepare the food and teach them about what each ingredient is good for. For example, “We eat broccoli to help your bones grow.”
4. Portion size
Be wary of portion sizes and don’t expect too much from your child. A bite or two of a new food is a milestone. Don’t expect or force them to consume the whole lot.
5. New foods
Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite. It might help to talk to them about the colour of the food and what nutrients it contains. For example, “Carrots are orange because they contain beta carotene. Our bodies turn this into vitamin A, which helps us see in the dark.”
6. Fun food shapes
Cut fruits into various shapes with cookie cutters. Watermelon, rockmelon, soft pears and large nectarines all work well.
7. Hidden veggies
If all else fails you can also add baby spinach to smoothies, parsley, zucchini & green peas to spaghetti sauce, and mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups. Our Hidden Veggie Sausage Rolls are super popular with kids AND adults!
Don’t forget to praise your child for trying new things, and reward them with lots of cuddles if they are doing well.
If you’re concerned that picky eating is compromising your child’s development, consult your child’s GP or a holistic practitioner such as a naturopath or nutritionist.
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