We all want the best for our kids and part of that is feeding their little tummies with nutritious, healthy foods packed with all the good stuff we know their bodies need.
But when fussy little eaters' taste buds refuse all healthy sustenance in favour of bland, often packaged, convenience foods, for weeks, months or years on end, mealtimes can become the most excruciating and frustrating time of the day.
Quite often, in situations where you know you'll have to contend with a fussy eater, you'd rather avoid the battle, and reach for the food favourites you know your kids will eat...even if they aren't they best choices. This is understandable considering the circumstances.
There are however, ways to overcome fussy eating battles, although you're probably asking yourselves how?
Try these tips for fussy eating toddlers to get you on the right track:
New foods will be alien to your child at first glance, smell and taste. For this reason, you should start small. Best not to overwhelm your child with a huge plate of veggies! Try small, bite-sized chunks of new foods on your child's plate, to slot alongside their usual favourites. Encourage your child to try even the smallest slice or chunk, but don't feel discouraged if they won't.
This leads us onto the next tip. Repeat adding the same new (small) foods over and over. Scientific studies suggest that if you expose small children to a different vegetable for eight days in a row, they are more likely to eat at least one of them.
Make food fun
If you have the time and the inclination, why not try crafting some fun foods for your children to eat. Foods that are interesting and different yet are still packed with nutritional goodness. Examples:
This way, your child will be exposed to different flavours and tastes in a fun and creative way.
Involve kids in food prep
Encourage your children to get involved with food prep in the kitchen. This can be as simple as grating, mixing ingredients in a bowl, or sprinkling seasonings into dishes. When your child sees that food is not the enemy, they should hopefully be more inclined to at least try it after the finished dish arrives on the table.
Ask others to help
Does your child go to daycare? If so, ask the educators how and what she eats well there. Likewise, if your child goes to stay with grandparents or other relatives, suggest they try new foods with your children.
This way you can find out of your child is more open to trying new foods when away from home. More often than not, they are. Sometimes, this is because your stress about the situation can make matters worse, and if that stress is taken away, your child will be more willing to try new foods.
If all else fails, and you are genuinely concerned about the lack of foods your child is eating, don't be afraid to discuss your worries with your health care provider.
Many factors may contribute to fussy eating. If you have tried everything, perhaps it is best to make an appointment with your GP who may refer you to specialist, such as a paediatrician, speech pathologist or dietitian, if necessary.