Fussy eaters can be a huge parenting challenge. I know this first hand with my own daughter. At times, it can feel overwhelming and stressful to try and make sure she is getting enough nutrients, especially over the winter months when we are trying to avoid those winter bugs!
Here's five tips that I have found helpful, hopefully they might help you too!
1. Shop together
When you head to the grocery store, take the kids with you! This is a great chance to get the kids involved with choosing foods as well as learning a bit more about where they come from. You could begin conversations like "Did you know potatoes grow in the ground?", ask questions like "What sound does an apple make when you bite into it?", "Are bananas hard or soft on the inside?". Let them choose the beans and put into the bag for you.
2. Involve them in cooking
Getting the kids in the kitchen is a great way to expose them to different and new foods. They can also see the foods being prepared from raw through to cooked. Let them smell spices and supervise them stirring foods as you add the ingredients so they can see if it changes colour. Encourage them to serve their own meals once prepared. Serving the food "family style" in the middle of the table is a great way for the kids to feel like they have control over what they are putting on their plate with the benefit of you being able to limit the choice.
3. Eat together
Modelling food habits is a great long term strategy. Sitting down together as a family not only creates lovely memories, it's a great chance to chat about their day. It's also a chance for the kids to see the foods you and their siblings are eating too.
4. Grow your own food
Have you tried growing your own food? This is a fantastic way for kids to understand where food comes from! They might even surprise you, chomping down on a carrot straight from the veggie patch.
Did you know research shows kids may need to be exposed from 5-100 times before they will accept a new food. Don't give up! Keep offering, in as many different ways as you can. Exposure doesn't mean they need to eat it. Licking, smelling or feeling the texture is a great way to start exposure.
If you've been dealing with a fussy eater for a while, I feel you! But don't give up. It can take some time to start seeing results. Don't be hard on yourself or your fuss pot, all kids can go through these periods and the more pressure we put on them the more they can resist. We just need to keep trying and make sure you celebrate even the little wins!