Parents are, in 99% of cases the ones best placed to help their child with fussy eating.
No one is as invested, spends as much time or knows our child as well as we do.
We can support our child to:
- eat more widely
- not get stuck on specific foods
- try new foods
- be relaxed and have fun around mealtimes
- add fruit and veggies
When I speak to parents of picky eaters, the worry that their child is iron or protein deficient is often front of mind.
Although this may be true, iron and protein would not be my biggest concern. I would first look at zinc as many people, never mind those that do not eat well are zinc deficient.
For those on a limited diet already too little zinc can affect appetite and the taste of foods. Not pluses for fussy eaters!
There is a very simple strategy for supporting children to eat more veggies. It’s not something I would necessarily advocate for if you have an extremely picky eater. But, if your child is able to eat some veggies but prefers not to then this could be great.
Studies have shown that what we pair a food with can have a real impact. If we serve nuggets that our child loves, next to broccoli, they are likely to focus on the nuggets and if able, ignore the broccoli.
Ahhhhhh, final term of this decade ... I feel like my life is whizzing by at ever increasing speeds.
The best Christmas present ever for the parent of a fussy eater is to resolve mealtime battles. To have a child happily eat what we put in front of them and not have to stress, worry or get frustrated at every turn.
As a picky eating expert, who works with over 100 families a year, I have two suggestions:
I had a fabulous e-mail from a family I’ve worked with. They have a 4 ½ year old son, Sam* who is a picky eater and does not like change or new foods at all.
We were talking about introducing pastry and so mum had both her young boys making pastry snakes.
Sam was really hesitant about eating the snake, so mum put jam into a syringe and they squirted “snake blood” over the pastry.
- our son asks for something & then won't eat it
- my daughter likes a food & then refuses to eat it the next day
- we always have the same nuggets but all of a sudden my son says they are different & won't eat them
- I cooked my daughter's favourite meal & she said it looked yuck
There are a tonne of variations on this but these are the sort of things I hear from parents of picky eaters all the time. I know this causes both frustration & confusion. It also makes buying, preparing & serving foods a nightmare.
I had a lovely conversation with a young mum in Adelaide, South Australia last week.
She had been gifted the book (it is a great present :) ), Creating Confident Eaters and has been working through some of the strategies.
Lola, 4 has never been a great eater and Teddy, 2 is not as competent as mum would like.
I spoke to a mum last night who told me she felt like she was drowning. Every day she struggled through meals for her son who was a really fussy eater.
He was really rigid in his approach to food and everything had to be done in exactly the "right" way.
Mum was exhausted by it and finding it hard to believe there was a way out of the hole she was in.
The world's best picky eater-proof downloadable from Pinterest is probably not going to get your child eating. Not least because what rocks for one child is not necessarily a win for another.
On the other hand there are ways we can make foods more enticing for our children and if we can do that why not?
My latest breakfast creation, which is a huge hit with my teen is choc yoghurt. I know this is a firm favourite with quite a few fussy children, but my version is not like the store bought :( Although that is something I can do!
Judith is passionate about good food and is even more passionate about enabling other people to enjoy the wide variety of fresh food available today.