10 August 2023
If you have a fussy eater, you're not alone. In the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 3 children are picky eaters. As a parent, it can be frustrating to see your child turn their nose up at a meal you’ve carefully prepared. The tips below are aimed at helping you get your fussy eater to try new things without stress.
Having a variety of healthy options available will allow kids to choose what they want to eat, and it encourages them to experiment with new flavours and textures. Two choices is a good place to start as it will avoid overwhelming them with too many options and doesn’t involve too much work for you. If you're struggling to think of new ideas, have a look online for recipes specifically for fussy eaters.
Getting kids to help plan and prepare meals is a great way to get them interested in trying new foods. If they're involved in choosing what goes on their plate, they're more likely to be open to trying it. This can be as simple as letting them pick out a new vegetable or fruit at the supermarket or letting them help cook dinner. Encouraging them to try new foods in a fun and positive way will help them to be more open-minded at meal times.
If your child doesn't like a particular food the first time they try it, don't give up. It can often take 10 or more tries before a child accepts a new food, so it's important to keep offering it. You can also try serving it in different ways - if they didn’t like a vegetable on its own, try combining it with others in a sauce, or roasting it. Try not to make a big deal if they don't like something, just move on and try again another time. Do bear in mind that almost everyone has foods they dislike, so don’t be too disheartened if your child repeatedly refuses a particular food - as long as they’ve got a varied, nutritious diet, it doesn’t matter.
Children learn by example, so if you want your child to try new foods, you must eat them yourself. Show them that trying new things can be fun by being adventurous with your food choices. This doesn't mean you have to eat everything, but it does mean being open to trying new things. Who knows, you may even find a new favourite food yourself!
Try to stay calm and positive while trying to get your child to eat. Watching them refuse to eat something you've prepared can be difficult, but getting upset will only worsen the situation. Praise them for trying new things and let them know it's okay if they don't like everything. Encourage them to keep trying, and eventually, they'll find something they enjoy.
Parenting a fussy eater can be challenging, but there are ways that you can encourage them to try new foods. Keep it calm and fun, and let them take their time.