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Fussy eaters

How to help your kids through the fussy phase

Have a fussy eater at home? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Most kids tend to go through phases of being picky when it comes to food. Fussy eating is to be expected and is a normal part of a child’s development. Nonetheless, dealing with a fussy eater is not much fun for parents. Morning, afternoon, evening; each day is a constant struggle, with meal times seemingly catching up on us when we least expect it. 6 o’clock already? Uh oh. Dinner time...

Helpful tips

These helpful tips may help put an end to the ongoing struggle:

  • Try to make mealtimes fun - Easier said than done but don’t allow your frustrations to get the better of you. Stay calm and put on a brave face. You can do this! Approach the situation with a smile and a positive attitude. The kids will feed off your good mood and be much more likely to make an effort with their food.

  • Praise, Praise, praise! - Reward your kids for good eating, they'll love it. Make sure to wait until after the meal has ended though, as one well meaning comment may be the end of that veggie feast.

  • Bring the kids to the shops - Involving your kids in the food shopping may result in them taking more interest in the food on their plates. If kids recognise that they have some involvement or choice in what they are eating, they will be much more likely to co-operate at dinner time!

  • Eat together - Try to eat as a family as often as possible. Young kid’s will often eat more off your plate than their own, even when its contents are identical! While not ideal, they may try some new foods that they wouldn’t have touched otherwise.

  • Time the introduction of new foods well - Hungry kids will be much more likely to eat what they are given. Take advantage of the after school munchies by having colourful veggies and fruits cut, washed and ready to be eaten.

  • Get creative - Do your kids refuse anything and everything that doesn't consist of chicken nuggets, chips or pizza? Try your hand at making some of these tasty treats yourself. Simple chicken breasts in breadcrumbs or veggie laden pizzas are a healthy alternative for the fast food loving child.

  • Drink water - Limit the kids (and yourself) to water at meal time. Both milk and fizzy drinks will cause little tummies to fill up quickly resulting in the possible return of untouched plates of food.

  • Involve kids in the kitchen - As fussy eating is often a way for kids to assert their independence, involving them in the cooking may just put an end to the problem. Kids love to assemble things themselves. Self assembled rolls, wraps and pizzas are all great options to explore.

  • Give foods funny names - Rename the classics with more interesting titles. Fairies delight, volcano mush and starshine swirl may just become their new favourite meals.

  • Work on presentation - Kids will pay a lot of attention to the way things look. Arrange fruits in the shape of a smiley face, thread them onto sticks or blend them into a colourful smoothie. Each will appeal to young eyes, tempting grumbling tummies into trying once rejected fruity treats.

    When the going gets tough, simply try to smile and bare it! Kids may reject foods ten, eleven or twelve times before agreeing to try them. A once rejected plate of peas may become a firm favourite over time.

    Have you any tips to help with fussy eaters? Share them in our comment box below.

    Article sponsored by Glanmore Foods,
Award Winning Healthy Irish School Lunches


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