It is common for kids to be fussy eaters, especially from the age of 2-3 years old. They may not like the shape, taste, colour or texture of particular foods; they may not like something from one day to the next; they may refuse to try new food entirely; they might eat more or less from day to day. While this is a normal part of children's development, it can be a big source of stress for parents! You may become frustrated or concerned that your child isn't getting the nutrition they need to grow. The good news is that children are likely to get less fussy as they get older.
Keeping these facts in mind can really help:
Kids' appetites go up and down depending on their growth cycles and how active they are - it is common to be hungry one day and picky the next.
Life is so exciting for kids - sometimes they may be too busy exploring and play they don't want to spend time eating
Fussy eating is a way children learn, by testing boundaries of acceptable behaviour & asserting their independence - all very normal and vital parts of their development.
Top 10 Tips For Fussy Eaters
1. Allow your child to be involved with choosing and preparing family meals, make the food making experience fun, put on their favourite song and make it super fun !
2. Offer a variety of nutritious food regularly (5-6 times per day) in a range of colours, shapes, textures and sizes. Finger food lets them choose what they want to eat next from the plate, supporting their sense of independence.
3. At meals times offers your child the same food that the rest of the family is eating but a smaller portion size, avoid preparing separate meals
4. Provide 2-3 options such as the choice between two different types of vegetables, and always let your child decide how much they want to eat.
5. Lead by example - show that you're willing to eat of variety of healthy foods and enjoy them.
6. Keep offering new foods at different times - children might have to see food on their plate 10-15 times before they taste it! Encourage kids to touch, smell, or lick the new food
7. Praise good behaviour and avoid bribery when it comes to food. This can teach children that certain foods are more enjoyable and desirable than others.
8. Have quiet time before mealtimes for children to calm down and rest - over excitement, distraction and tiredness can decrease appetite. Some ideas are: run your child a bath before dinner; read a book or sit down with their favourite tv show for 5-10 mins before serving up dinner.
9. Maintain a routine with regular, consistent meal times and set amount of time for eating, no rushing through dinner: rest and digest is key here. Eating together as a family, turning off the tv and avoid devices at the table.
10. Avoid drinks and snacks one hour before meals