If you have a fussy eater at home – you are not alone! Most kids go through a fussy stage at one point or another, but the key to remember is that it is just a phase. How you react to their fussy habits can play a big part in how long this fussy stage will last. So here are some ideas you can try today to make it easier!
1. Don’t React! Reacting to their bad behaviour only makes mealtimes more stressful for you and for your fussy eater, so it won’t encourage them to eat. Focus on praising their good eating behaviours and try your best to ignore the rest.
2. Offer something familiar. Always offer at least one thing on their plate that you know they will eat, so that they are not going to bed on an empty stomach if they don’t eat everything on their plate.
3. Get creative! Making mealtimes fun is such a good way to encourage healthy eating habits. Cut their fruit or sandwiches into shapes using our Lunch Punch cutters. Create little works of art in their lunch boxes or on our Emondo Bamboo Plates. Check out our Instagram page for more fun food inspiration.
4. Get kids involved. Involve kids in all aspects of preparing a meal. Take them with you to the shops and ask them to help pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try, bring them into the kitchen and give them kid friendly tasks such as mashing potatoes, cracking an egg, squeezing a lemon or stirring the mixing bowl.
5. Start Gardening. The only vegetable we could get our 3 year old to eat consistently was carrot, until we started our own vegetable garden in the backyard. My son helped pick seedlings from the nursery and as they grew, he started picking and eating vegetables straight from the garden – baby tomatoes, rocket, spinach, lettuce, capsicum – he loved it! Even if you only have a small space, you can still grow some veggies or herbs in pots on a windowsill.
6. DIY Meals. Kids love putting their own meals together at the dinner table! Put different chopped ingredients into a muffin tray or some little bowls and ask kids to make their own tacos, wraps or pizzas!
7. Eat together. Eating at the dinner table together as a family as much as possible is really important. If you can model good eating habits for your child, they will be more likely to have good eating habits themselves. You can also use this time as an opportunity to talk to your child about food, and about their day. It’s important that they associate meals with happy feelings. Using Milton the Mealtime Companion is also a great way to model positive eating habits at meal times. Milton is a great tool to encourage kids to try new food, to talk about healthy eating, and just generally making meals more fun and less stressful!
8. Encourage Independent Eating. Encouraging independent eating from an early age can help prevent a future fussy eater! Finger foods are a great way to do this - steamed fruit and vegetable sticks, grated cheese, sandwich shapes, shredded chicken, scrambled egg, just to name a few. Letting your child control what goes in their mouths takes away the frustration that sometimes comes with mealtimes. Also let your child feed themselves with a spoon rather than being spoon fed by an adult. Kizingo Spoons are a great self feeding tool that are ergonomically designed to make self spoon feeding as easy as possible for little hands. Let them get messy - that's what self feeding is all about!