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How to cope with Fussy Eaters by making meal times fun and healthy.
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 simply 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 incline.
Colourful food is more appealing to children.
A good cookery book for children who are fussy eaters
Involve the children in meal preparation.
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. 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.
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. 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 veg might just love a mild chilli or a sweet and sour chicken dish.
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 the best tasting smoothie I’ve found so far.
1 ripe banana
1 small tub of yoghurt, vanilla or banana works best
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp runny honey
1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
Whiz the lot up in a blender, add a little ice and drink. Wonderful!
Most important thing to remember is that no healthy child will starve themselves if there is food available and 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.