Tips for Fussy Eaters – Expert’s Advice
Having a fussy eater in the family can add more than a little stress to the day. It’s enough of a challenge putting balanced healthy and affordable meals on the table every day. But when you find your child refusing to eat what you know they really need, it can be exasperating.
As with everything in the world of children, there is no one size fits all approach to fussy eating patterns. There are a range of reasons why children reject certain foods. And yes, you guessed it, your job is to find out what they are! But don’t worry, there are some things you can do to make this task easier. Here are some tips for getting to know and understand your fussy eater.
Is it the Mood?
Our tummies are the first place we hold emotion, and this is well documented throughout medical literature. Sometimes children just feel overwhelmed and lose their appetite. Giving them some time and offering something easy to digest will keep stress to a minimum and increase their chances of regaining an appetite.
Is it the Food?
It may be a particular food group, texture, or taste that is putting them off a whole meal. Children’s palettes evolve over time, and their perception of salty, sweet and sour will change. Allowing them to dislike certain foods may help with their general attitude to meal time and will likely pass.
How Concerned Should You Be?
It is perfectly natural to feel concerned that our children aren’t getting enough of what they need. But it is important to stay relaxed. Keeping a diary of nutrition and hydration will give you a clear idea of exactly what they are eating, and if your concerns are warranted.
Strategies for Fussy Eaters
Once you have spent some time understanding the cause and identifying some problem foods it’s time for strategy.
- Is your child a salad eater, or a steamed vegetable eater? The main objective is to get plenty of phytonutrients from greens. Sometimes the texture can put children off and they may also be following their intuition. Certain body types digest cooked foods more easily and others prefer salads. If your child rejects the very idea vegetables try a more covert approach. Mixing them up with some fruit can do the trick. Apples can combine well with greens in juice, smoothie, or even cooked not the stovetop.
- Have your child choose the vegetables when you go out shopping. Get to know your vegetables by name and taste. Draw some pictures, make a salad together, or plant some in the garden. At Hamersley Early Learning School we value good nutrition and that’s why we offer chef prepared food from the freshest ingredients, to support your child in developing healthy eating habits.
- Texture. Some foods get thrown on the reject pile due to their appearance, or texture. Mushy food such as lentils, pumpkin and spinach can be disguised in a pie. Bananas sometimes struggle for approval due to their texture, and they may need to be left out for a while. Avocados are a good substitute and highly nutritious.
- Lack of Appetite. If your child seems to reject all kinds of food, they may be struggling with appetite. This could be an indication of a stomach bug, parasite, a virus, or anxiety. If the food fight is going on for an extended period, you may wish to consult with a doctor or naturopath. There are supplements for children who need some extra support, and certain things can be done to increase appetite. Make sure your child is active and hydrated to support a healthy appetite.
If you have concerns about your child’s eating patterns while they’re in child care, it is important to discuss this with your educators. Child care can be a great opportunity to shift some ingrained habits.
Here at Hamersley Early Learning School we understand how important it is for children to maintain good nutrition. To talk to us more about fussy eater strategies, positive eating patterns or to enrol your child, contact us today.