Fussy Eaters – 5 Top Tips
The struggle is constantly real when it comes to fussy eaters.
We all know how tough it can be when you are dealing with this as a Nanny and you have the parents worrying their child isn’t eating right.
Except as a nanny you can still find it frustrating when the children are fussy.
It makes you start to understand and realise why your own mother used to get annoyed with you when you refused to eat dinner.
You put all this energy and time into cooking a delicious meal and they take one look at it and say ‘yuk’. Not cool right?
But don’t worry you are not alone.
How can we make mealtimes less stressful, more relaxing and fun?
Over the years after dealing with fussy children I have learnt a few tricks and it’s perfectly normal for toddlers to start being fussy eaters, what you need to do is help prevent it from being a bigger issue in the future.
Children will generally eat better if they mock you eating the same thing and make dinner times a social /positive environment, chat about their day and what you have been up to.
Have a rule of trying the food first before saying it’s disgusting, praise them when they do and they are more likely to continue to try things again if you praise them. Positivity is key!
Allowing them to also be involved in planning meals, food shopping and prep is an excellent distraction tool and gives them a greater understanding of what goes into making a meal. Children love to take on responsibilities, so this is a good way to introduce these.
You should allow a child to try foods 10-15 times without any pressure.
It is easy to get mad and frustrated at the child very quickly and we have all been there, however, this is the time you need to be the most patient.
We don’t want them to feel negative towards dinner times.
As Dr Jacqueline Blissett from University of Birmingham states:
“All research into food behaviour points to putting pressure on children to eat having a negative impact,” Dr Blissett says. “For children who are fussy, ‘repeated exposure’, where you offer the food repeatedly without the pressure to eat it, is really important. Over time, that child will typically begin to accept the food.”
Having a reward chart really helps, give them a sticker every time they eat all their dinner or even try a new food. Let them know at the end of the week if they have a sticker for each day they get a prize or a kid’s magazine or a soft toy they wanted.
Try to avoid rewarding food such as sweets.
Not all children respond to a sticker chart so you need to do what’s best for you and your child. I have found making a vegetable sauce with every vegetable they generally wouldn’t look twice at and I put it through the food processor and serve it on pasta or even as a risotto sauce. At least you are getting them to eat vegetables even if they don’t realise it.
This is what I put in it:
- broccoli including the stem
- spinach or kale
- chestnut mushrooms
- garlic and onion
- 3 all colour peppers
- 2x passata
| Method |
Place a teaspoon of olive oil and cook the onions until soft, next add the carrots and celery.
Cook until soft add the peppers aubergine and courgettes. Add the mushrooms, broccoli and garlic (I add it in later as you get a better taste) but can add it whenever you prefer.
Allow to soften before adding your kale or spinach.
I let it all cook down a bit more before adding the passata. Simmer away for 20mins or so then using your food processor blend until everything is combined, yet not too liquidy.
It seriously is a winner makes a lot and easy to freeze.
As frustrating as it can be, remember to stay calm and positive and offer lots of praise when they finally try something new or finish their whole plate. Children love being praised and make them want to do it again.
Children love being praised and it makes them want to do it again.
For further reading on fussy eating, there is this great article on Huffington Post that I’d recommend reading here.