How to get fussy eaters to eat!

I find it so frustrated when I spend time making healthy nutritious foods, only for it to be refused by my two picky eaters. My daughter is the most challenge, sometimes she won’t even taste it before she says ‘mum, I don’t like this’, but I don’t easily give up. My son will try anything once it’s not made with cheese.

This behaviour happens at many kitchen tables, with many parents feeling very alone, that they are the only ones with a fussy child. However, around ninety per cent of children go through at least one lengthy phase of fussy eating. While it can be frustrating when a child rejects the food we give them, their eating habits are hugely impacted how we react to the situation. Eating habits and tastes are formed from an early age, so a variety of foods is very important from the outset. Not only is this important to help avoid fussiness, but is important in giving them a balanced healthy diet that provides the nutrients they need.

Hide my frustrations

I try to make mealtimes a fun, positive experience. I would hide my frustrations and give my daughter lots of praise when she eats well or tries something new. I sometimes reward good eating with stickers. I tend not to use foods as reward treats because I want them to grow to always enjoy their foods.

For those of you who like to be organised, planning a menu at the beginning of the week will not only save you time and money, but will also allow you to plan a delicious variety of meals that the whole family can enjoy.

Timing

Children tend to come home from school or an activity starving and can quickly look to the snack tin for a quick fix. This is a great time to get children to eat something healthy. Before, crisp uses to be that quick fix. Now I have a healthier snack ready or to hand, like a slice of gluten free homemade bread with almond butter or a fruit or raw vegetable – cucumber or carrot with dips

Eating together

They look forward to my off days tea times, as we eat together at the kitchen table. Eating together can really make a difference where fussy eaters are concerned. Take the time to chat, rather than focusing heavily on what is on the plates. This will help to take the pressure off children who may feel that what – and how much – they eat is being scrutinized.

Cooking together

Making things look appealing is just as important for kids as it is for adults. Making food preparation interactive in this way enhances the experience.

My children love getting involved in the kitchen – its time for bonding and sharing time and learning new things together.
Teaching your children to cook can teach them invaluable skills, and encourage them to become interested in food. Why not invite a group of friends over and get them to prepare their own meal (younger children will need some supervision). Children are more likely to eat and be enthusiastic about something they have helped to make.

If you are not confident with letting your child help in the kitchen, you can start with the easy fun foods that your child loves. Like chicken nuggets and chips – you can make chicken nuggets by marinating some chicken and coating it in breadcrumbs then cook it in the oven or burgers using good-quality lean mince. And how about making ice lollies or ice fruit cubes from fresh fruit and pure fruit juice? There are lots of ways to get your fussy eater interested in food..

Remember: you’re not alone. Keep trying, and don’t easily give up!

No added sugar Ice fruit cubes

Ingredients:  1 apple, 1 carrot, 1/4 cucumber and 1/2 beetroot.

Juice together and pour into ice cube mould and freeze for about 2 hours.

If you don’t have a juicer you can blend them together.

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Homemade chicken nuggets

Ingredients: Fresh chicken breast, breadcrumbs, died mixed herbs, salt and pepper.

Method: Cut chicken breast into small pieces.

Marinade with herds, salt and pepper

dust with breadcrumbs and cook in a pre heated oven for about 15 minutes.