So, you have a fussy eater and you need some simple tricks to encourage them to try different foods? Here are five simple tips that you can do at home to support your fussy little one through meal and snack times:
- Eat the rainbow. Fruits and veggies range in colours, so its actually quite easy to fill a plate with a variety of coloured foods. Get their help to pick foods for each colour (for example, strawberries or tomatoes for red, orange or carrot for orange). This can be a fun activity for them with the added benefit of a variety of vitamins across different colours of foods.
- Tap into their interests. If they are fascinated by dinosaurs, use cookie cutters to form sandwiches, watermelon or potatoes into a fun dino shape. Or if they like crunchy textures, make some oven-baked veggies nice and crunchy for them. Engage them with food using their existing interests.
- Swap foods for healthier versions. This might be a little bit trickier if they are set on a particular brand or flavour, but you can always try. Substitute a cookie from a packet with a homemade version that contains lots of nutrients and less sugar; exchange white bread for wholemeal for added fibre; and ditch the store-bought ice creams and ice blocks and make your own with frozen banana or smoothies.
- Hiding foods in others. You can add ‘bitter’ foods such as spinach leaves, or a textured food like avocado, to a smoothie with bananas for a yummy and healthy drink. Or add black beans to healthy chocolate brownies for added fibre (especially good if your fussy eater is underweight). This tip will help to get more nutrients into your child, however long-term they will need to be introduced to the food in its natural form if they are going to choose to eat it.
- Lead by example and remove the temptation. Your child will look to you for what and how to eat, so set an example by eating healthy meals and snacks with lots of variety. And buy what you want your children to eat and not what you don’t want them to eat – if the food isn’t in the house, you and your child can’t eat it!
And a bonus tip – get a professional on your side. A naturopath can help you develop a plan to address specific issues, ensure you offer the best options for your child’s nutritional requirements, and help you stay on track with your goals to get your child through their fussy eating phase.
If you’re in the Brisbane area and you’d like me on your team while we help your child to broaden their food horizons, visit me in the city for a Children’s Health consultation.