Dealing with Fussy Eaters

One of the main stresses and concerns of a parent revolves around the fussiness of their child. Approximately 80% of Australian parents are concerned about their child’s eating habits, while one-third worry that their child isn’t eating enough.

Fussiness is a completely normal behaviour for a child. Diet is the only aspect of their life that they feel as though they have some control over, so they often abuse this power. However we have got some great little tips for you to help address fussiness within your home.

Diet is the only aspect of their life that they feel as though they have some control over, so they often abuse this power.

A lot of parents panic and hide all sorts of vegetables in mixed meals; however this can turn the child against the entire dish. Try introducing foods individually, that way you’ll actually discover what your child likes and dislikes. This way children can learn to like and accept the various flavours and textures of individual foods.

As well as this, children need to learn to like foods. It can take around 10–15 exposures to a certain food before a child decides whether or not they like it. Therefore providing them with the opportunity to explore foods by encouraging them to look, smell, touch and eventually taste is the best introduction. However there comes a stage when you need to listen to your child, as they genuinely may not like a food. We as adults don’t like everything, so how can we expect children to.

It is also a great idea to get your child involved when preparing and cooking their meal, as they are more likely to eat something they have made. This will also assist in creating healthy eating behaviours later on in life, and teaches them to associate mealtimes as being a fun and social time.

Great idea to get your child involved when preparing and cooking their meal, as they are more likely to eat something they have made.

Our last little tip is simply “parent provides, child decides”. Provide your child with a few healthy options and then they can choose from this list. This empowerment allows them to feel like they have some control over their diet, encourages responsibility, and will increase their confidence around mealtimes.

However, if you really are concerned about your child’s fussiness it may help to speak to a dietitian to work through the barriers around mealtimes.