20 tips for fussy easters!
Good Afternoon friends! Happy Wednesday! I hope this finds you all well.
Ok, so I am going to get straight to it as I have been asked SO many times since sharing dinner photos and especially back to school lunch box photos ‘how do you get your children to eat that???’ — SO I thought I would hopefully help and offer some suggestions for your fussy eaters. I have put down 2o tips of my own – I could have kept on going forever – AND I have put down 5 tips from ‘Cut out the Crap’ friends (other Mums who are on this journey too!) from when I asked on the COTC group / chat page!
It is pretty long and you might not agree with them all or you might love all the ideas but find them overwhelming. That’s ok! Pour yourself a cuppa and take it all in and why not try with just ONE thing from this list over the next week. Good Luck!
Oh … and a little about me incase you are new here … I am a Mum of FOUR! Miss 13, Miss 11 and b/g twins who are 5. You will see through my tips some personal statements of how they eat, which I hope helps!
20 tips for fussy eaters!
- Teach your children from a young age the importance of healthy food. Gentle and easy words like ‘Please eat two more pieces of carrot, because it is really good for you and it will help you grow up nice and strong like Daddy / Mummy / Superman / Elsa’ (whatever will appeal to your child the most!)
- Lead by example! You cannot expect your children to eat all their salad and vegetables each night if you don’t – and don’t force your ‘dislikes’ onto them – this is SO important!
- Don’t overwhelm them with a plate full of things you know they don’t want. If the only vegetable your child eats is sweet potato then offering a plate full of 10 vegetables is going to have them shut down and freak out. Start off small but be consistent
- Offer one new salad / vegetable item each week – it would be even better if you allowed them to choose it! For example week one sweet potato and zucchini. Week two add carrots. It might seem boring and a slow process but it will allow their taste buds to adjust without bombarding them!
- Get your children in the kitchen to help! This will encourage conversation about healthy food and have them feel an ‘ownership’ and ‘responsibility’ for what they are about to eat
- If time and space allows, start a little vegetable or herb garden. I know that all 4 of my children love to help plant vegetables, watch them grow, pick them and help prepare them for dinner. You can get many small pot varieties – this is how I got my youngest daughter to eat tomato as she always turned her nose up at it before picking little cherry tomatoes fresh from the garden
- Try taking your children to the shops to choose one new item for their lunch box each week – of course with rules as to which section that can pick from! This helps encourage conversations of what they do and don’t like
- Try serving vegetables in different ways. For example I use to HATE ‘honey carrots’ as a child but loved roasted carrots. Different options for serving vegetables are: stir fry, steam, mash, roast and of course many they can have raw – you can even do a combination of a few. You can add some roast veg to a salad – my kids love a garden salad with roast beetroot, carrot, sweet potato and a salad dressing of honey and apple cider vinegar
- Be careful with how late children have afternoon tea and how large their afternoon tea is. Don’t let afternoon tea be so large that their appetite for dinner is spoilt
- Hand your children a recipe book and ask them to choose one meal for dinner each week and ask them to suggest healthy ideas for their lunchbox. Once again, this will encourage a casual conversation about healthy food. I ask my 4 kids to pick one dinner each week and use it as a ‘tool’ for bribery (ok YES I said it) – for example ‘Please eat that Pumpkin Soup because that was my dinner choice this week and then tomorrow we are having your choice of Honey Chicken’
- Have realistic expectations on how much your child will eat
- Pick your battles! If your child has eaten their meat and 2 of the vegetables you gave them, don’t stress if they didn’t eat their 3rdvegetable or their cheese etc – OR if they ate a huge nutritious lunch and were a bit picky over dinner, don’t let it stress you – work out if the ‘fight’ with them is REALLY worth it!
- Don’t offer ‘alternatives’ – this is a majorly important point to me! If you serve your child dinner and they don’t eat as much as you would like them too, DON’T offer them yoghurt or custard or fruit etc instead – the only thing they will learn from that is that it IS OK to not eat their dinner because you will just give them something they want instead
- Listen to your children to work out if they truly don’t like something OR if they are just being fussy. My Miss 13 truly doesn’t like sandwiches, so it would be silly for me to send one to school for her every day as it would just get bought home or possibly thrown in the bin
- Think outside the square – you don’t always have to do cereal and toast for breakfast or sandwiches for lunch – does your child like Spaghetti Bolognaise? Why not make a double batch and serve that for breakfast! What a great way to start the day!
- Offer ‘tasting plates’ or whatever you might like to call them as a way to try new food. We do this most weekends for lunch – a large platter or two in the middle of the table with loads of small portions of food – it gets them trying different things and gives you more ideas of what they do / don’t like
- Don’t be afraid to get a little ‘cheeky’ and ‘creative’ with them and re-name food – for example Master 5 HATES soup BUT if I call it casserole or meat and vegetables in sauce he will eat it!
- Be encouraging when they try something new or eat something they really didn’t want to – all kids love praise. Every time I serve Broccoli my Master 5 tells me how much he hates it – each time I reply with ‘I know mate, but it’s SO good for you and it’s my favourite so please just eat that one piece’ – and he always does!
- Keep it real. I had someone once tell me that her daughter ate 5 ice-creams a day and wouldn’t eat anything else. Remember who is the parent. Remember who actually does the grocery shopping. If there is no chips, lollies, soft drink and ice-creams in the pantry then they can’t eat them! Make fresh fruit and vegetables easily accessible in the fridge and pantry!
- Have patience – don’t loose hope – keep trying. If you can, start all of this the moment they start eating. My twins who are 5 started this way from day one of food and therefore have really good and mostly fuss-free appetites. My older girls were not bought up with such clean diets until the last 6 years or so and therefore more explanations of good v bad food, more patience and more trials happened. It is 100% worth it though!
FIVE more amazing tips from COTC friends:
- From Genelle: Hide it!!! bee pollen in honey crackles, aussie sea minerals in their drinks, everything in bliss balls. veggie mash, any thing white mash it, white sweet potato, turnip, parsnip, caluiflower, you name it put it in there, and if they have a favourite colour, then make it that colour. brownies with zucchinis and LSA, coconut oil to brush their teeth (can get unflavoured, yes mine is that fussy) …. HIDE IT ….
- From Marnie: The biggest thing for us has been eating buffet style, I guess you’d call it? So instead of serving dinner onto plates and taking them to the table, we serve everything on the table and they take their pick. I don’t know why, but the kids are so much more likely to try things when we do this.
- From Danae: i also took my daughter to a fussy eating clinic and they say just put the food straight onto a tray or table and let them eat with their hands. sometimes kids will refuse to eat foods with cutlery or with a plate. let them squish the food in their hands and experience the texture and hopefully then they will attempt to eat it.
- From Moira: I knew my noodle loving daughter wouldn’t eat zoodles if she could see any green on it, so I carefully selected the white parts of the blanched zoodles to put on her plate. She wolfed down the entire dinner (little did she know her carbonara was made of cauliflower ) with no complaints. Next time I’ll just peel the zucchini before spiralising it!
- From Marion: Choose your battles. Little ones are clever, I found that if you ignore the whinging, they eat.
Also I do a salad bar for the salad, if they don’t eat lettuce, it’s fine, they just eat all the cucumber and carrots.
I truly hope you have found this helpful!
Please don’t hesitate to add your tips for fussy eaters to the comments for others to read also!
Take Care of You,
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