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How to Make Mealtimes Fun For Fussy Eaters.

Updated on March 31, 2018
GALAXY 59 profile image

Galaxy has worked in commercial catering for over 30 years and is a committed vegetarian. She is also a qualified nutritionist.

Edible fun.

Fun food pictures. smiling tomatoes.
Fun food pictures. smiling tomatoes.


5 stars from 1 rating of Banana and honey smoothie.

Fun Food for Fussy Eaters.

Learn how to deal with a fussy eater. Most children go through a fussy eater stage, the trick is not to make it a bigger problem than it already is. I know it can be a real pain dealing with one or more children who are fussy eaters and simply won’t eat, or at least won’t eat what you want them to. Just remember not to make it into a battle of wills because, realistically, no one ever wins that kind of battle.

Fussy eaters are a lot more common than you may think, you are not alone. Making too much of an issue about food at an early stage can lead to some very serious health problems for the child later in life. Meal times with a fussy eater can be hell but they don’t have to be.

Once you have established that there is no medical reason for a child refusing to eat what is put in front of them there are a few simple things that you can try to encourage the child to clear their plate.Talking of plates, why not invest in some nice bright coloured crockery just for the children to use.

Most, if not all, parents have made food faces and pictures and sometimes this method works and even the fussiest picker can be persuaded to eat the hair, eyes and nose of a clown, or the sun and grass. This method can be time-consuming and downright fiddly if you are not particularly artistically inclined.

Fun and tasty way to eat cake

Pirate chest cake for children.
Pirate chest cake for children. | Source

Involve Children in Meal Preparation.

1) Involve the children in the meal from the very start, from deciding what to eat to how it should be prepared. Make it a fun activity. Remember that colourful food is more appealing to children.

2) Take your children shopping and teach them how to tell if something is ready to eat, show them which things go together. I believe it’s never too early to teach children where their food comes from so if there happens to be a pick your own place near you why not take your children along. Maybe you could encourage your children to grow some of their own food at home, nothing tastes quite as good as a tomato picked fresh from the garden.

3) Shelling peas or broad beans is easy enough for even the youngest child to manage safely and it’s fun, as long as you don’t have to do too many. Sandwiches are simple to prepare and can be made more interesting by using cookie cutters to make different shapes.

4) Let your children arrange a special meal once a week, allow them to decide the menu, with a little guidance, prepare and cook the food and even lay the table. You could make the meal part of a theme night. Mexican, Italian, Chinese etc. It’s a great way to introduce different foods and different flavours to children, and who knows, maybe a fussy eater who turns their nose up at a plate of meat and two vegetables might just love a mild chilli or a sweet and sour chicken dish.

5) Don’t let a child who has picked at their meal and hardly eaten a thing fill themselves up with snacks if they really must have something to eat between meals make it a piece of fruit. Easier said than done, I know. From my own experience, it’s tough having a child tell you they’re hungry and that all they really want to eat is a bag of sweets or a chocolate bar. I have given in to this far too many times to count and had to deal with feelings of guilt and another battle at the next meal time.

I did find that I could distract my children by letting them make a milkshake or a smoothie. At least that way you know they are getting something a little better than junk food.This is a great tasting smoothie for children and adults alike.

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 2 min
Ready in: 4 min
Yields: Makes enough for two good size smoothies.

Ingredients for Peanut and Honey Smoothie.

  • 2 bananas, very ripe.
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 1 large tub yoghurt, natural or vanilla
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 2tsp peanut butter, smooth is best
  • 2 scoops ice cream
  • few cubes ice


  1. Peel and slice the ripe bananas.
  2. Put all of the ingredients, except the ice, into a blender and whiz for one minute.
  3. Add the ice and blitz for another minute until really smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into two chilled glasses. I always used special brightly coloured glasses just for the children.
  5. I sometimes add a little grated chocolate to the top as a special treat.

No Child Will Starve Itself.

The most important thing to remember is that no healthy child will starve themselves if there is food available. When you have a houseful of ravenous teenagers you’ll look back on the fussy eater stage and wonder what on earth you were worried about.

Don't stress over it too much, the child will pick up on your fears. Try not to make it the focus of meal times, the child will eat when it is hungry, trust me two of my own children were fussy eaters and they have grown up just fine, and have really good appetites!

Please take the time to answer this short poll, thank you.

Were any of your children fussy eaters?

See results

© 2010 Galaxy Harvey


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