6 tips for fussy eaters

Jessica Hoskins, a nutritionist, shares her tips for parents to create delicious and healthy kids meals at home.

What are your tips for fussy eaters?

  1. Make mealtimes a positive experience by focusing on what your child tries and eats rather than what they’re not. Trying a new food should be treated as a happy event rather than a stressful one.
  2. Get your child in the kitchen. Here they can watch the process of food preparation, touch the food, taste the food and experience the smells and sounds. Participation in the preparation of the family meal is empowering for a child and will often result in it being gobbled down.
  3. Eat together. Many parents get into the habit of serving children separately. Whilst this seems more convenient, eating together takes the focus off the child eating and becomes a more relaxed and social event in which everyone is participating. Studies have shown that people who eat in a social setting are more likely to have a healthier diet. Of course, we all want to enjoy some adult time, so perhaps save those occasions for Friday and Saturday nights and practice family mealtimes during the week.
  4. Check your own eating behaviour. Remember that your child is always observing you and is likely to mirror your eating behaviours. If you are not interested in eating healthy nutritious food, then why should they be?
  5. Compartmental lunchboxes and trays are a useful tool, particularly if your child’s fussy eating is due to a struggle over choice. You can regularly offer a variety of different foods to choose from, but always include one nutritious option that you know they’ll eat.
  6. Mindful eating. Screen time is not a good idea during any food consumption. It creates mindless eating that can lead to overeating, poor food choices and an unadventurous palate. Screen time also removes the social aspect of meal times. Rather than switching on the screen, try allowing your child to experience their meal by chatting about the different smells, textures and tastes they are experiencing.

Jessica is a Byron Bay-based clinical nutritionist, herbalist and natural health educator. She is the founder and consultant at Sage and Folk, a business which she started through her passion for womens’ and pediatric health.