Parenting

My top 10 fussy eating tips

July 31, 2018

Fussy eating from toddlers or children can make meal times really difficult. I know, both of my girls are fussy to a degree but our eldest probably more so. I’ve had to develop strategies over the years to help and yesterday I was very lucky to meet Annabel Karmel at an event for the launch of the Cybex LEMO highchair who also shared some tips, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned over the years and yesterday…

1. Make food fun…

I definitely find trying to make food fun for little ones really helps. Try cutting toast into shapes with play doh cutters or if you’re really creative cut something out yourself. But be careful – I once asked Amelie what she wanted and she said a plane and an airport! This was a toast challenge too much for me. Annabel’s top tip was to use different plates or bowls for food, so instead of serving fish pie in a pile on a plate, serve it in an individual dish and you might find they find that more appealing.

2. Serve food in the middle of the table…

I don’t know why this works for our fussy eaters but it really seems to with my girls, maybe it’s an independence thing but whenever I serve food in the middle and let them help themselves they seem to eat more and try more!

3. Always have a food they like on the plate…

If you’re introducing a new vegetable then have one they like as well so it’s not too overwhelming.

4. Eat with friends and out of the house…

I always find my little ones eat better and try new things when they’re with friends and they’re not at home. I think they watch others and that can be really beneficial.

5. Don’t make a huge deal out of fussiness…

This can be really hard to do but I find if I get annoyed about then not eating something they’re even more defiant. If I walk away and don’t offer anything else they do finally eat!

6. Hide the good stuff…

If you’re worried about getting everything good into them, hide it! Annabel Karmel had some great ideas on hidden veg and coatings to get goodness in. For example using a vegetable based sauce or adding vegetables to meatballs.

7. Get them involved in cooking…

Amelie refused to try pancakes until we made them together, now it’s her favourite food, so try and involve them in cooking when it’s safe to do so.

8. See where food is from…

I found Amelie much more receptive to trying fruit when we went to a pick your own so if you have a local one see if they’ll try fruit after they’ve chosen it themselves.

9. Make food they love from scratch…

If your little ones love chicken nuggets then why not make them yourself? Annabel Karmels chicken nuggets are my girl’s favourites and we always make them together and serve them in the middle of the table.

10. Finally, don’t bribe them to eat or refuse to give dessert.

All the experts say this and I admit sometimes I’ve gone down this route in pure desperation but it never works. Try to stay calm and when they do eat something, even one pea offer loads of encouragement – it works so much better!

Thanks to Cybex LEMO and Annabel Karmel for having us at an event yesterday to launch the nice Cybex LEMO highchair that inspired this post (and questions on Instagram from people wanting help).

One final tip from the event was to make sure your child is sitting comfortably to the table. When Amelie started weaning we had an awful highchair that was a hand me down, she could hardly sit straight as it was so big and gave no support. In hindsight, I should have bought a new one straight away but I didn’t know how it could hamper their eating. A few months down the line we bought a new one and she ate so much better!! So my big tip is to research your highchair and get one that they’ll sit in well from baby to toddler to child.

Sarah x

*I went to the Cybex LEMO event but was not asked to write this post*

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