As your little one grows up, it’s common for their eating habits to constantly change, which can be tricky for parents to keep up with. Even Jamie Oliver has attempted to tackle this, offering free, healthy meals for children in his restaurants throughout August. So, here is our list of ways to help normalise your child’s fussy eating.
Set the Menu – Don’t cook your child anything separate from your planned meal. This will simply create an expectation, making your child think it is okay for them to be fussy. However, always make sure there is something on the table which your child will eat (e.g. bread), so your child won’t go hungry if they do refuse to eat their dinner.
Stick to the Clock – Always have a schedule for your child’s meals, including a set time for their snacks. This will get them into a routine, ensuring they do not over or under eat throughout their day. It is also important that you eat dinner as a family. This will allow your child to see everyone else eating their food, encouraging them to do the same.
Portions – Give your child a small portion from each food group for every meal. For example, fill half the plate with vegetables, and split the rest with grains and protein, followed by a small portion of fruit. This will ensure a balanced diet.
Try something new – Finding new recipes of the particular foods your child won’t eat may help. For example, your child may not like steamed broccoli. So, how about adding some to your next stir fry? All the sauces and spices will add flavour and may even ditch their dislike for greens.
Disguise – Sometimes parents have got to tell a white lie or two to get through the day…and this is no exception. Try hiding healthy, nutritious foods in some of your child’s favourite treats. For example, try adding some courgetti (courgette spaghetti) and a handful of spinach in with your normal spaghetti bolognaise for that added portion of veg. Here are a few vegetable hiding recipes to get you started.
Get Them Involved – Children are usually much more willing to eat certain foods if they have helped to prepare it themselves. So, try encouraging your child to get involved with the cooking. This way, everyone wins!
These are just a few of our ideas, we’d love to hear how you cater for your fussy eater!