Being fussy is the norm

Being fussy is the norm

You’ve spent time preparing the family meal only to sit the meal in front of your child for them to say, “I don’t like it, it’s got green bits in it.”

Frustrated? You’re not alone.

It is normal for children to be fussy eaters and not like the taste, shape, colour or texture of certain foods. It is also normal for them to like something one day and dislike it the next, or to eat much one day and then hardly any at all.

Fussy eating is part of children’s development and a way of asserting their independence. The good news is your child is likely to become less fussy as they grow.

But, in the meantime, how do you make mealtimes a happy occasion for all involved and encourage your child to try something new?

  1. Start small: Ask your child to lick a piece of food and work up to trying a mouthful. Remember to praise your child for making a small step.
  2. Ignore the fuss: Giving fussy eaters a lot of attention can sometimes encourage them to keep behaving in that way. If your child is fussing about their food, ignore it as much as you can.
  3. Make healthy food fun: Let your child help you prepare a salad or whisk eggs. You can also use cookie cutters on pieces of fruit to create fun shapes for a fruit platter. By getting your child involved in preparing meals, you are not only interacting as a family, but you are helping them feel proud of what they have achieved. And they may just eat it too!
  4. Make it family time: Turn off the TV and interact with each other as a family. Set a limit of about 20 minutes for mealtime so that you can keep their attention, life is sometimes just too exciting and busy for a child to sit still. If your child has not eaten their food in this time, take it away and don’t offer them more food until the next mealtime or snack break.
  5. Give your child independence: Support your child’s need for independence when it comes to food. You can provide two or three healthy options, but it is up to your child to decide what and how much they will eat. Alternatively, you can get your child try new things by putting a small amount of new food on their plate with food you know they will eat.
- Information sourced from: