Making meal-times easier!
Fussy eating is something experienced by most mamas when your children are between 1 to 4 years old. Your children may have been great eaters, but now you are noticing a change. Often is it because they are trying to demonstrate their independence to you and food is one way to do it. They are also able to move around a lot more, so are more interested in exploring what the world has to offer than sit at a table and eat. Fear not, here are some tips to help you handle the fussy eating.
Step 1: Family eating.
Children learn by example, so ensure that you eat as a family as often as possible. Also make sure that you’re eating the same thing as your child. Often even with family eating, we tend to still offer our toddlers different food to what we as moms are eating. This will also mean moms are eating better, because if your child sees you pulling a face at a particular food, they will refuse it too.
Step 2: Include your children in food choice and preparation.
Children are more likely to try something if they have selected it and helped to make it. Once a week when you are grocery shopping, get your child to select vegetable or fruit (the same one can’t be selected every week). Once at home prepare it together and sit down with your child and enjoy the new food together.
Step 3: Perseverance.
Keep trying foods, even if your child refuses it at first taste or sight. Eventually they will start wondering why you continue putting it onto their plate and will try it. Remember though that there will be some foods that your child will never eat, and this is much like adults. If your child has tried tomato countless times and still refuses to eat it, it may be that they just don’t like it.
Step 4: Veggie gardens.
Again allow your child to be involved. If they have helped plant and care for the vegetables they are more likely to try. Especially when harvesting, there will be a lot of tasting then.
Step 5: Don’t offer replacement meals.
If your child is refusing to eat a particular meal, remove the plate. If they ask for something to eat within 30 minutes of you removing the plate, offer them the same plate. Again if they refuse, remove the plate. Only offer them another meal option at their next scheduled meal. For example if your child refused to eat dinner, then the next meal would be breakfast. Don’t force them to eat something and don’t be concerned if they skip a meal, or even an entire day of meals. Children won’t starve themselves.
Step 6: Put a time limit on meals of 20 – 30 minutes.
Longer periods than this cause frustration for both mom and child creating a negative relationship around mealtimes and food.
Good luck mamas!