Everyone goes through a fussy eating phase. Yes, even you, the absolute foodie that you are, went through a phase where there was no way you were going to touch that one thing on your plate – we all did. There would even be days where we’d go off our favorite meals for absolutely no reason at all.
But we turned out fine (mostly!). So, it’s not something you have to worry about when your kids are going through their picky phase.
Good habits just need to be established and instilled by you so that your little ones come out with a healthy attitude towards food. Here’s what you can do to help your picky eater…
1. Be a good example
They’re going to be a lot less keen to dive into a plate full of veggies if they don’t see the adults around them doing the same - and who can blame them?
So mirror your diet with your kids (maybe not the pureed or mashed up parts) and get some variety and green-ness in there.
2. Dinner and a show
There’s more to dinner than just eating, especially for little ones that are so new to the world.
The whole family gets together, chats, and catches up on their days.
Your baby can get involved with all the talking and the whole routine. How new and exciting!
They can also watch as you get everything ready for the meal, maybe even give them a commentary as you go – we’ve all done this already as practice for when we eventually become celebrity chefs anyway.
The more involved they feel with the event of the meal, the better.
3. Switch up the texture
Texture of the meal = just as important as what the meal is made of.
That’s right – your little one might love broccoli, just not when it’s pureed.
Trying out different ways of serving a controversial fruit or veg can actually do the trick of making your little ones fall in love with them.
Getting some cookie cutters also helps – haven’t you heard that heart-shaped cucumber and star-shaped kiwi taste so much better than normal cucumber and kiwi?
4. Get the cool cousin in
Grumbly when it’s just you, but angelic when there’s a guest around?
Yep, we’ve heard that one before.
Rather than being frustrated, lean into it!
Get someone round for a meal that your little one likes, then they’ll no doubt try their best to impress them with their amazing table manners and eating ability.
5. Never reward them with food
Sometimes rewarding with treats or food feels like the only solution to a loud, screaming problem, but it really shouldn’t become a habit.
The ‘eat your veggies and you’ll get an ice lolly after’ bargain shows them that the healthy dinner is bad and the sugary dessert is good.
This isn’t something that we want to communicate to our little ones.
Different ways to strike a deal with the little rascals could be to agree to play their favorite game or promise an extra five minutes at the playground instead.
6. Explore all options
There are lots of reasons that a plate of veggies might not get hoovered up by your little one, not just them being a picky eater:
- They might simply be slow and enjoy taking their time, so be patient if they’re slow off the starting line.
- They could even be so tired they can’t eat. To stop this from happening try scheduling dinner at the same time each night (not too late) – they’ll know what to expect and a routine always helps them get used to new experiences.
- Maybe they’re guilty of over-snacking? If your little one is constantly having bits to pick at throughout the day, that might be the reason they’re not going for your delicious dinners. Try to cap it at 2 healthy snacks a day.
All in all, not only is it a phase that is going to pass, but there are also some really good reasons that it could be happening that, as parents, we should keep an eye out for.
Just keep reinforcing those healthy habits! You’ve got this.
What tips to switch fussy eaters to healthy eaters have worked for you? Share them with us in our All Things Food group on Peanut!