Top Tips for Fussy Eaters
Updated: Jul 26, 2020
Top tips to support positive eating behaviours:
Make sure your kids are getting enough to eat - include 3 main meals a day plus a snack in between each meal.
Eat meals together as a family to model healthy eating behaviours. Reinforcing environmental cues around mealtime and seeing others eat similar foods can potentially encourage children to become more willing to eat.
Research shows that it can take up to 8 times of being exposed to the same food before it is accepted. So offer food again and again to improve familiarity. Add new foods to each meal and keep offering it over the period of a week (for example, serve brocolli at dinner), try cooking it differently to improve their tasting experience. Once they are used to it add something new.
Avoid making separate meals, so kids don't accept this as the norm, hindering improvement.
Discuss the food you are eating with your kids, like its taste, texture and what you like about it. Turn it into a fun game and get kids to rate the foods they eat out of 10. This is a great way to identify if there are any particular issues around types of foods that they may not like, allowing you to prepare foods in a different way if this is an issue.
Rewards can be successful in getting kids to try new foods. Keeping rewards small and record on a reward chart, can be a great incentive to get kids to continuously try a new food over say a week. Keep it positive and do not punish them by taking away their favourite foods.
Encourage kids to get involved with meal preparation. Making this fun and exciting can encourage kids to try new foods.
Focus on how you serve food - for example, giving kids deconstructed meals such as tacos with everything separated, may support their eating by allowing them to put the meals together as they like.
Limit food/drink which is nutritionally unhealthy, such as junk food and soft drinks.
Take a deep breath, try not to take it personally and don't get upset. It will take time for kids to be willing to try new foods, or eat foods they don't like. Consistency is key, so be patient.