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Feeding Children that are Fussy eaters

Updated on October 17, 2016

Breakfast is a very important meal

Fussy eaters can be a worry - but don't stress about kids food choices

As a grandmother I have had many a disagreement about what my grandchildren were eating, but now I have great grandchildren, and times have changed so much, parents do not seem to mind what they eat as long as they are eating something.

So I feel a bit of a fool now when I think how my grandchildren must have felt, and maybe even disliked visiting me as they knew they would be made to eat their vegetables, (which was the main food I could not master,with my grandchildren, I had no problems with my own).

Oh dear how times have changed, but with these changes, I have learned not to stress, (like I used to), about kids food choices.

Most families have fussy eaters, so maybe some of my ideas will help cope with that child that only eat sweet things like cake and puddings, cheesecake and ice cream, just stop the food fight, and let children eat, I have found that in the end it all works out and children grow to be healthy adults.

How does school breakfast affect children's health?

Little guy wondering if he should eat that last piece of cheesecake.
Little guy wondering if he should eat that last piece of cheesecake.

What Do Children Eat?

Don't overreact

The most important thing to remember about food and children is to never, ever make it a drama (which I did, dear-me).

The moment you express concern or anger at your child for not eating something, you are turning it into a behavior that your child may well repeat. Children love attention, even if it is expressed in anger.

So just remove uneaten food at the end of the meal. This doesn't mean your child will never eat that food again, they just did not feel like it then.

Set a good example.

If you are going to sit at the table and moan about how much you hate Brussel sprouts or some other food you are not keen on, then so will your child. Eat healthy foods you enjoy - don't just eat them because you think you should.

Children love routine.

Serve meals at a regular time and don't be afraid to offer the same meal several times a week if they like it.

They might like only half a dozen types of food and be happy to eat only those and nothing else forever that's okay, the main thing they are eating, and as they grow older they will add other foods to their likes, and dislikes. Every food has an alternative, if they don't like milk, try yogurt where there are many different tastes which one must suit them, or cheese.

If it's vegetables, offer then fruit, or a texture problem, such as chewing (many children have that problem), offer them mince or sausages.

Don't despair if they only eat a little.

They are better off having small meals with snacks in between than eating three big meals.

Why I let my child eat eggs and cake

Meals For Children

Starting to feed baby,(they say about 6 months of age these days,) is if you establish it, very early, will make smart eating routines, and habits, by introducing a wide variety of tastes and textures, baby will accept this tastes, as a toddler, and progress as the years go by eating all they are feed.

Do you want to have some broccoli?

Children eating Vegetables

Did you try and make your children eat their vegetables first or no sweets?

See results
Eating sponge cake with whipped cream.
Eating sponge cake with whipped cream.

Children know what they should eat

Yes! they really do, and if you are freaking out because the want to eat sponge cake and cream, eventually it will all be gone and they will find some other food that they will want to eat and in most cases, it is healthy food.

Sit down and take note of everything they have eaten over a four-day period. You will find that they do naturally select a variety of foods.

If they are poor eaters check, that they are not filling up on fluids before a meal, (as I know from sitting back and watching that if a child can find, what they call bubbles (lemonade) they will fill up on that.

One last thing, get your child involved in preparing meals, like setting the table, tossing a salad, it may be just the thing that inspires them to try eating it.

Kid Eating Brownies


Don't Bribe Children to eat.

A child will almost certainly eat most things they do not like, if you offer them sweets as a reward if they try it, it does mean they will like eating that food in fact, they probably will hate it for life, and they will not know what you are talking about , when you talk about the starving children in Africa.

Yes, it is hard not to feel pressured as a parent to make sure you child eats all the right foods to keep them healthy.

If you only buy your groceries once a week like I do, keep your fruit and veggies in the chilling bin in the fridge for freshness and put out a few pieces of fruit every day, as it keeps the food fresher and still tastes nice, bananas I keep in an opened plastic bag on the bench, they stay fresh for a week without going brown, but never put bananas in the fridge, that will make them go brown.

Last of all, if you can help them to learn good food habits that, it will stick with them for the rest of their lives, they will thank you for it later in life.

Children's Healthy Eating Habits

Parents always want the very best for their child's health, but sometimes it's a real challenge to get a child to eat, if not sure, check the internet that provide detailed nutritional guidelines, for healthy eating, for a vegetarian child to eating meat, also the overweight child, which can be a big health risk later in life.

On the whole, if you are healthy with the food you eat, well to a point that is what your child should be eating, I know sometimes it is easier said than done.

Happy mealtimes, that's important to the whole household - Enjoy!

© 2011 Elsie Hagley

Did You Having Problems With Your Children Eating

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I used to be a picky eater and I wish now that I was not catered to but forced to eat what's on the table. Now, I eat mostly what my Mom ate to keep healthy. She would have a laugh when she sees me now.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @Andromachi: That is all good to do t your way and not worry. I know, I learnt the hard way, if they are hungry the will eat sooner or later.

    • Andromachi profile image

      Andromachi 3 years ago

      When my daughter was 2 she didn't eat much. i had to follow her around to eat something.

      i was a new mother then and didn't know much and my mother in law aways criticized me that the baby was too thin and made me anxious.

      now with my son i don't do the same mistakes. i don't care what other people say and let him eat as much as he wants.

      my daughter is now eight and sometimes she doesn't want to eat some foods i make then i don't give her something different. i just wait for her to be really hungry and most times then she eats it.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      I'm happy to hear you no longer stress about meal times with children - many blessings to you :)

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      We usually will somewhat make a decision as a family as to what the meal will be. If there is something I know my kids absolutely find disgusting, I usually won't make... maybe once in a while, and if I do the kids can have cereal or something for their own dinner. Great lens :)


    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 5 years ago from Benson, IL

      Unless children are born with no taste buds, they are naturally going to have some foods they like and some foods they don't like. If they don't like peas, it won't kill you or them to have an alternative like corn or carrots available. If you think it's a serious issue, keep a record of what they will or won't eat and, in some cases, you might notice a pattern that indicates a hidden food allergy. Kids are smart and will figure out that certain foods give them a stomach ache.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      I agree that food should not be used as a reward (or worse, denying a meal as a punishment). We need to slow down, drink more water and enjoy the social aspect of mealtime. Meals should be leisurely enjoyed (it takes a full 20 minutes for our brain to register the signals from the stomach that we are 'full enough'). I just think many folks (me included) eat way too fast (and probably do not drink enough water). Thanks for the solid advice here. Take good care, Rose

    • camshaw007 lm profile image

      camshaw007 lm 6 years ago

      I totally agree with you on this lens.

    • kspoll profile image

      Kristen 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks! A very encouraging lens for the mother of a picky eater.

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 6 years ago

      I just keep offering the good stuff. I figure it is my job to offer the meal, not to make them eat it. (I have 7 kids!) Blessed by a squid angel.

    • fireblazzer profile image

      fireblazzer 6 years ago

      times to change.... i my self am a fussy eater... though i do find my self liking foods that i didn't like when i first trued it... like i could never stand green olvies as a kid, now i love them!

    • profile image

      TopTenLists 6 years ago

      So far we are doing well. She has foods she likes and food she doesn't like but she is willing to try foods she doesn't like when offered which is great. Lots of praise and persistence seems to be working well.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      He's ten. We now tell him that he has had too many carbs and not enough protein. Then he has to decide what to eat. We make him read labels. We don't fight anymore.

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 6 years ago

      Try it, try it, you just might like it! We have a little song we sing when we try a new food! It's working for now.