Managing Fussy Eating
Before even thinking about the food on your child’s plate, do you find yourself worrying that it won’t make it to their mouths before being rejected, only for you to have to start yet another stressful meal time? Fussy eating in children is often a hot topic among parents, with many concerned their children are consuming limited diets, often low in nutritious foods.
You are certainly not alone, as fussy eating can affect children of any background, ethnicity, household income and gender. Although going through a phase of fussy eating is completely normal, our Chartwells nutrition team have devised a few top tips that can be used to help reduce the impact!
1.Avoid Restricting Food: Instead of restricting children’s access to certain foods, avoid having it visible in the house where possible or placing restrictions on food when dining out.
2.Avoid Using Food as a Reward: Using the phrase of ‘you can’t have pudding until you eat your dinner’ turns food into something that should be earnt. It can also promote certain types of food to be more desirable than others.
3. Lead by Exhample: What you don’t eat, your children won’t eat; it’s as simple as that. Promoting your good, positive relationship will help your children do the same.
4. Prioritise Family Mealtimes: Research shows that families who enjoy meals together consume more healthy dishes; with children eating more vegetables and reducing their consumption of unhealthy options.
5. Adopt the Right Environment: Removing distractions from the mealtime environment, such as the TV, is shown to increase the amount of healthy foods consumed.
6. Get the Children Involved: Bring the children into the cooking environment to allow them to get hands-on and learn what goes into their favourite dishes.
7. Repeated Exposure: Children can require up to 15 exposures of a new food before it is trusted, and a further 10 to 15 exposures to bring about a liking of that food.
8. Balancing Control is Key: In the current environment, some control is still required surrounding what our children eat for their own benefit. Moderating intake of widely promoted snack and fast food can be beneficial if done correctly.