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5 Tips For Fussy Eaters

If you are dealing with a fussy eater then please read my 5 tips on how to break the fussy eating cycle and get your child eating better.

Most children will go though a fussy eating stage in their lives. It commonly happens when your child hits the toddler years. I've got three children and each of them developed fussy eating habits around 12/18 months so I know how you feel, it's tough going! But the good news is, there is light at the end of the tunnel!! Change doesn't happen over night but I'll be giving you some of the ways I escaped the fussy eating cycle. 

Firstly, it's really important to stay calm! I know that is easier said than done but if your child picks up on your frustration or despair it is likely to make the situation worse. Take a deep breath! Try to choose a time when your child is not too tired, distracted or too hungry. Equally, while praise is important try not go over the top if they suddenly start eating broccoli after months of trying. You want this to become the new normal.

Start small - build things up slowly. Each meal try and offer your child one thing they love, one thing they like and one food they are unsure of. That way you know they are going to eat at least something while building up exposure of any new/unsure foods. Some experts believe that it can take up 20 exposures of a food before a child will eat it. In my daughters case about 100 exposures to carrots!

Variety is the spice of life! Try and ensure you offer a wide variety of foods at meal times. Offering babies a wide variety of food before the age of one is widely believed to help avoid fussy eating, I know, I know, this doesn't help you right now with a fussy toddler but just in case you find yourself weaning again! You are responsible for what food is offered, your child is responsible for what they choose to eat. If you do not ever offer your child cucumber because they previously refused it, how will they ever change their mind? Do not offer it every single day, give it a few days or even weeks before trying again. 

Sometimes changing up the way you offer food can have a huge impact in a child's eating habits. Instead of using the same plate why not serve food in a muffin tray, create a food platter or even an ice cube tray. Serving food like this can be a huge benefit to children with sensory issues who do not like their food touching. By serving food separately it makes it less threatening but still exposing unsure foods to your child. Sometimes a change of scenery or what is expected can do wonders, perhaps a picnic in the garden or how about having pancakes for dinner instead of breakfast. It's all about keeping it interesting for them.

Now if you follow me on Instagram then you will know I'm all about making food fun! I love creating easy food art plates to inject some fun into meal times. Food art doesn't have to be over complicated, you do not need to be Picasso to create food art. I've got lots of easy food ideas for you on my Instagram page using #allaboutkidsfoodart. If you are not comfortable about creating food art then don't worry, all you need are a few handy cookie cutters and it will instantly turn your boredom plate into a fun plate. I've got lots of fun food aids over on my Amazon Shop (affiliate).

Sharing plates are also a fantastic way to let children explore new and familiar food. Sometimes just by seeing other children eating different foods can encourage your little one to try something new. Great for play dates but be prepared for sharing arguments to begin with!

If your child is a bit older then why not get them involved in the cooking? Yes it requires a little more time and patience but the benefits are worth it. By involving your child in the cooking process, not only are they gaining life skills but it allows children the chance to become more adventurous eaters. If they can see and be involved in the cooking process then it opens more opportunities of food exposure. Just be prepared for some extra mess!

So as you can see, I've got some small but practical changes you can make to help break the fussy eating cycle. Rome wasn't built in a day but by being consistent you are going to make positive changes to your child's eating habits. Oh and yes I know there are more than 5 tips but 5 seems catchier than 6, right?

These tips are intended for moderate fussy eaters. If your child has severe fussy eating and you are worried about their weight or nutrition then please seek advice with a healthcare professional.

I would love to know if any of these tips work for you or if you have your own tips to share please do share them below.

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