If you sometimes feel like you’re the only parent with a fussy eater and everyone else’s child eats everything put in front of them, then you’re about to feel a huge sense of relief. Did you know that 90% of children go through at least one lengthy stage of fussy eating?
There is evidence that food fussiness is genetically determined to an extent, but, whether or not that’s the case, you can still significantly impact their eating habits by how you deal with the situation. Only giving them the foods they enjoy will simply escalate their fussiness, and deprive them of the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop.
Annabel’s 5 Golden Rules for Tackling Fussy Eating
1. Hide frustrations
The golden rule is to hide any frustrations, and instead give them lots of praise when they eat well or try something new. Yes, this may mean that you have to ignore some of their bad behaviour and instead focus your attention on their good behaviour, but they will soon find there’s not much point making a fuss if you don’t react.
2. Healthy swaps
Try and introduce tasty, healthy alternatives early on. For example, it’s no secret that children love chips so why not try baking sweet potato wedges and sprinkling with Parmesan instead? They are naturally sweet and baking them in the oven caramelises the natural flavour.
3. Peer-to peer-learning
Children learn from other children so, if you have friends with older kids who are past this picky-eating stage and tuck into whatever is on offer, invite them round. Simply by watching other children and adults eating the food on offer, your fussy-eating tot will be motivated to try it themselves.
4. Hidden veggies
If your child is fussy with vegetables, create recipes that vegetables can be blended into such as a tomato and vegetable sauce for pasta or mashed potato with carrot. What children can’t see, they can’t pick out.
Kids have different preferences. There are so many foods to try so don’t fixate on one and try it again later. Your child may need to try a new food 10 to 15 times before they are willing to eat it.
For lots more recipe inspiration and advice, visit www.annabelkarmel.com.