• happylittlegems

happylittlegems nutrition fact of the day:

Updated: May 17, 2019

Fussy eating is part of children's development

So we've all been there. You spend ages in the kitchen cooking your child a delicious, healthy and nutritious dinner, for them to sit down at the table and ask 'What is that?!' with such a look of disgust. Or to tell you they don't like it before they've even tried it. Or to spit it out the minute it reaches their lips (I'm thinking more babies here, but hey older children do this too!) So how do you deal with fussy eaters, without just writing them off as a 'fussy eater', or making them the same meals they like every day and therefore reducing the diversity of their diet. The good news is fussy eating is part of children's development. It’s a way of exploring their environment and asserting their independence. And it’s also because their appetites go up and down depending on how much they’re growing and how active they are. Furthermore, children are likely to get less fussy as they get older. One day your child will probably eat and enjoy a whole range of different foods.

happylittlegems top tips to combat fussy eating:

  • Children's (or babies) meals should be the same as yours just smaller. Just because they're young does not mean they're not capable of eating the same meals. The only exception would be with spicy food, so just make them a less or non-spicy version.

  • Make sure there are no distractions. Turn off the TV, put your phone away and spend time chatting about what's happened that day.

  • Give babies and toddlers a variety of textures and flavours. Children become more fussy as they become more knowledgeable and have other influences in their lives, so encourage good eating habits from very young.

  • Even if you know your child doesn't like something (maybe a particular vegetable) still put a tiny amount on their plate and encourage them to try it. Sometimes children think they don't like something, when actually they do.

  • Praise your child for trying something new even if they don't eat it all.

  • Measure your behaviour at dinner times. If you are always worried about whether they will eat or not then this will reflect onto your child. Try to be relaxed and let them take their time to eat or build up the courage to try the new food.

  • Make sure portion sizes are achievable. Think about what they've already eaten that day and how much they might need. It's better to put less on their plate and have them finish it, than for them to sit down at the dinner table and feel overwhelmed by the size of the portion on their plate. They can always have seconds!

  • Don't give them desserts unless they have eaten their dinner or tried the new thing.

  • NEVER make an alternative dinner. They eat what you've cooked or get nothing... they will not starve!

  • Model good eating habits yourself. Sit down for family meals together every night or as much as possible. Show them how you eat everything on your plate. Talk about the nutrition in the food you're eating and why we need a balanced diet. Children are never too young to learn about the importance of healthy food!

For more information on raising happy, healthy children please visit

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