Fussy eating has been a hot topic in the news at the moment with a 17 year old recently going blind due to a bad diet since leaving primary school.
Although this is a very rare and extreme case, fussy eating affects many UK households and have significant consequences.
Here are our top tips on how to encourage balanced eating habits:
Lead by example
Children love to copy their parents, so if you’re eating a variety of foods and trying new things, your children are more likely to do the same. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake to help give your child the confidence to try these foods for themselves. We also advise everyone eating the same meals at meal times, rather than preparing different options to suit different preferences.
Keep it simple
Don’t start by making extravagant meals that you know your child won’t eat. Start simple and build it up adding more things gradually. Keep a note on what your child likes and dislikes and this will help to plan your meals. Remember to keep the meal sizes down as large portions can be daunting for children and will most likely put them off eating the meal all together.
Bring in other people
If your child has a friend you know is a good eater, invite them over for a few play dates which involve lunch and dinner. Your child will see that their friend is eating and won’t want to feel left out or embarrassed in front of their friend. Alternatively, if your child has an adult they look up too ask them round for dinner as your child may listen to them without a fuss.
Get your kids involved
Encourage your child to help prepare the family meals at lunch and dinner time. If they’re involved in making the meals, it will give them a sense of achievement which will make them want to eat the food they prepared, especially if everyone is saying how great it tastes! Plus, they will be learning new skills which will be valuable for the rest of their lives.
Don’t be scared to get your doctors advice if your child’s fussy eating starts spiralling out of control. There could be numerous other factors as to why your child isn’t eating so if it is a concern please speak to someone.
The bottom line is, you aren’t alone as there are thousands of children across the country who are fussy eaters, so hold your nerve and they will get through it – we promise!