Having a child who is a fussy eater can be extremely frustrating; whether they have been particular when it comes to their food since day one of weaning, or they have suddenly developed an aversion to all foods that are not chicken nuggets or pizza, knowing how to overcome this can be tricky. Luckily, there are several steps that you can take to gradually reintroduce, or even introduce for the first time your child to different types of foods that they need to be healthy and thrive.
Starting with . . .
1. Not Making A Fuss
Making your child’s mealtimes into a big song and dance in a desperate attempt to get them to try new foods or eat their dinner is a sure-fire way for them to start refusing food altogether.Instead, remain calm and in control and do not pressurize your child to eat something if they don’t want to. For younger children, it can also be helpful not to get worked up about any mess that they make when experimenting with food; baby weaning can be messy, but you can always hire rug cleaners to remove stains from your floor coverings.
2. Ensure Your Child Is Hungry at Mealtimes
An easy mistake to make is offering your child too many snacks close to mealtime,which can result in them refusing to try new foods. Why? A hungry child is more likely to eat what you put in front of them, rather than a child who is just mildly peckish. Plus, if your child knows they are likely to be given a snack later in the evening, they will be less inclined to eat at dinner, safe in the knowledge that they won’t go hungry.
3. Make Food Fun for Your Child
If eating seems like a chore, then your child is not going to look forward to mealtimes, so try to make food as fun as possible.This could include something simple, like making a smiley face out of raw vegetables, or making some tasty fruit kebabs for your child to enjoy. It is also important to involve your child in the food preparation process; you just need to ensure that the tasks you give your child are age-appropriate.
4. Be Consistent in Offering New Foods
Although it is advised not to bombard your child with a whole plate of unknown foods, it is recommended to consistently offer at least one new food at each mealtime, so your child can experience a wide range of flavors and textures.Do not worry if they only take one bite of the new food; they have tried it, and that is what counts. Try to remember that it can take at least 6 weeks for a new habit to be built, so try not to feel disheartened if your child continuously refuses a particular food.
5. Accept That There Will Be Certain Foods They Don’t Like
Just like adults do not like all foods, neither do children. You may become fixated on your child eating avocado, and yes, this fruit is nutritiously amazing (although high in fat), but if your child simply doesn’t like the taste or texture, then there is very little you can do to convince them otherwise.In other words, pick your battles. If your child is making progress and trying new foods, take that as a win. Do not become preoccupied with one specific ingredient.