As we have covered in previous weeks it is important to introduce as many foods as possible at an early stage.
You may have to focus a bit more on presentation and jazz things up a little, research has shown your child is likely to eat better when they feel in control! Instead of serving up at the cooker, try letting your child serve themselves. Try to feed your child at a reasonable time, not when they are too tired, with the same meal as everyone else (avoiding added salts) and have meal times together where possible. Leading by example when everyone else is eating, there is a good chance your little one will join in.
As Annabel Karmel says “giving your children a limited number of foods will only escalate their fussiness, and deprive them of the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop.”
Top Tips for fussy eaters:
- Explaining to your child about each of the foods and where they come from (fruit and veggies that is) and why they are good for you, this may encourage them to try new foods. Everyone wants to be as strong as the Jolly Green Giant or Pop Eye!
- You could start your own vegetable patch and ask them to help maintain this, or you could take them to a local farm. What I personally loved as a child was using plastic cups, and making some holes in the bottom and growing my own seeds, such as green beans or grass seeds. We ended up re-planting the grass into paper cups and creating funny faces, using the grass as the hair!
- Involve your child in the food shop, get them to pick up some of the fruit and veg on your shopping list and place into your trolley or basket.
- Try getting your child involved with baking and meal preparation, as this can stimulate a child’s appetite.
- Introducing a new food can be a hit or a miss, you can try offering this as a little side portion in a different plate or dish, in addition to their main meal, this will encourage them to pick away and try the new food.
- You can try different plating techniques with your child to make it more fun, you could make their meal into a ‘happy face’ or ‘flower’. Making meals look like pictures your child can relate to will make the whole eating process a lot more fun. Remember children love to eat with their fingers and get messy, so every now and then, let them assemble their own meal, making pizza, where they can create their own toppings, or let them create their own wraps or kebabs!
- In the summer you can have dinner times in the garden, on a picnic rug or in a tent to make it more interesting.
- You can try using a food chain, for example if your child only eats chips / French fries, gradually offer foods that are very similar.
- Rewards charts are a good idea for older children, each time they eat a new food, they can place a sticker on the chart, once they have collected a few, you can reward them with something little, such as a trip to the park, or playing one of their favourite games with them.
- Remember to make meal times enjoyable and it may be best to hide your frustrations if your patience is running out.
- Remember children’s tastes change, therefore one day they may love a certain food and the next hate it.
Thanks for taking the time to read the last in our series of baby and infant nutrition. Next week we will be writing about something completely different! Check back in with us to find out how we created our own classy but neutral baby shower!
As always we would love to hear from you, if you have any top tips for other parents out there, please comment below.
- Annabel Karmel
- Baby Centre