Handling Fussy Eatersby Adam Riches
Having a fussy eater can be a real morale destroyer as a parent. I’d actually put it up there with sleep deprivation actually. In fact, I’d say in some ways it is more stressful...and expensive.
When it comes to food and your kids, you want the best for them. You want them to grow well and be healthy. There is of course the added factor, reality, in which we can’t all be perfect parents who can cook organic, wholesome food all the time. I know some people will argue they can...but we can’t.
When it comes to fussy eating, it can really impact meal times. I’m not going to go as far as saying it gives me anxiety as such, but it does massively make me dread the potential impending battle I could face when dinner is plated up.
In order to avoid the tantrum, the tears and the never-ending parental guilt of not being that perfect parent, we have found a few little cheeky ways to make sure that the fussy toddler is still getting what he needs and also trying new things because let’s be honest, a battle at food time is not fun.
Give them what you eat, even if it’s just a bit
Giving kids options gives them a way of avoiding having to conform. At dinner time, it’s always a good idea to get your fussy one to try some of what you are eating. A lot of the time our toddler goes fucking mental at the prospect of new things (just as a default setting) but from time to time, he finds something that he actually likes and we make a mental note of both the food and the moral victory.
There are times where you just know it isn’t going to go down well, and even on those occasions, give them a bit to try on the off chance they might like it. You might be surprised.
Get them to help prep
Getting the boy doing the chopping (with a blunt knife, God, don’t start) and collecting the ingredients is a really good way to get him interested in what he is eating. Does it have a tangible impact on him actually eating? Not sure. But it certainly makes the whole process more interesting for him and meal times are certainly quieter if he has been involved.
Giving them a bit of ownership over food too empowers them. It’s important that if you are trying to build confidence around food, you let your kid experiment with it. I’d personally avoid letting them cut raw chicken, just a tip.
Sneak in some nutrition
Blitz and evade - the perfect crime. We love making a sauce that is laced with vegetables and other goodness. I know guerilla tactics aren’t always advised, but when you need to sneak some goodness in, hiding the evidence is as good-a-way as any.
A few nutritional drops are another easy win. There are some quality fruity ones out there that mix into yoghurt really well and can quickly and conveniently supplement other food that may not be passing the fuss test.
Have conversations about healthy food
I like to think talking about food is another way in which you can get your fussy eater to eat a bit more. I always make a point of explaining what each food does. I don’t get a calorie tracking app or anything out, but getting your kid to understand what each food does can really interest them in eating it.
The concept of growing fascinates our little boy and any mention of how well something makes him grow soon gets him tucking in...who am I kidding, I mean grimacing and spitting it out.
What I’ve realised is that kids eating can quickly tip your balance of sanity. We can but try and sometimes, they aren’t going to eat the fucking broccoli however hard we try.