It's normal for kids to go through periods of fussy eating. Children have more sensitive palates than adults and it is common for children to dislike some foods. Here are some tips to get them the nutrition they may be missing.
If your child is just starting out on solids, check the advice for starting family foods.
Tips to help with fussy eaters
Lead by example
Your children see what you eat and it has a strong influence on what they want to eat. Eating similar food to what you offer them can have a big impact on children’s desire to eat and try new foods. Use the
food calculator to find out how much of what your kids should be eating based on their age.
Children may dislike some food depending on what they look like. For example, they might dislike grated carrots, but approve of long ‘ribbon like’ slices created with a peeler. Try presenting vegetables in a different way and see what grabs their attention. You could even cut vegetables into fun shapes (if you have the time).
Grate vegetables into cooked meals for your children, to add vegetables that they might not even notice. Frozen vegetables are another easy way to add some extra nutrition, so keep some handy in your freezer and stir them into meals, such as pasta sauces.
Offer your kids a few healthy options and let them choose, such as piece of fruit or yoghurt. If food is rejected, clear it away and try to offer it again later. Or for young children, try offering food on a different plate, with a different colour or pattern.
Involve them in the kitchen
Children are more likely to enjoy and want the food they have prepared. Try choosing recipes and snacks they can make for their lunchboxes. Take a look at our
tips for developing healthy eating habits to find out how to involve kids as young as two years old in preparing meals.
Keep a meal time routine
Try to offer meals and snacks at regular times.
Keep trying new foods
Add one new vegetable or fruit to try with their favourite meal or dish.
Don't give up
Remember, young children will eat when hungry. Don’t worry if they don’t eat straight away – they may not be hungry. Wait a little and try again.
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