Margo Dill


Do You Have a Fussy Eater On Your Hands? These Tips Might Help

contributed article

Children are notoriously fussy in this day and age. So many mothers feel like they share something in common if their child is fussy with their food. Some children are worse than others; and while many parents try to figure out what they may have done wrong,  there really is no rhyme or reason as to why children develop such funny aversions to certain foods. That being said, there are some ways you can combat the fussiness and try and improve things for the better. I thought I would share with you some of the tips that may help.

Plant some fruit trees and vegetables

Many children like to get involved in everything, and many of them love spending time in the great outdoors. So take advantage of this exploring nature and do a little gardening with them. Plant some fruit trees or vegetable plants, and watch them grow together. This could help you to encourage children to try new things that they grew themselves, but what if you end up with a bumper harvest? Things like a pressure canner can help you preserve excessive fruit and vegetables, which means things like wastage become a thing of the past, and it may even save you some money in the process.  

Make the food more fun and appealing

One thing many parents struggle with is making the food look appealing. However, if it visually looks good, it may encourage children to try more foods. If the plate is uninviting, then children are less likely to want to eat it. Parents have great success with making smiley faces or little scenes on the plate. It might be worth a try. Thankfully, you can find a little inspiration online on websites like Pinterest.

Encourage them to cook with you

I think a great idea is to try and get your children to cook along with you. After all, they may love the idea of doing something with you (same idea as the gardening) and getting involved in the kitchen. It might be as simple as letting them put things in bowls or measuring out ingredients. Depending on their age, you can start to teach them new cooking skills. If they make it, they may be more enticed to eat it.

Relax during meal times

Many parents need to relax during meal time because children can sense tension and the anticipation that goes along with trying new foods. You may find that feeling frustrated with mealtimes, or even being over the top with emotions, can perhaps hinder your chances of success. Relax and go with the flow. 

A rewards chart

A reward chart may not work for everyone,but there have been many success stories of trying charts, specifically for new foods. Perhaps a sticker for every time they try a new food or finish their meal.

Positive encouragement

Finally, It is always good to remain positive and give positive encouragement when it is due. Sometimes, we can focus too much on the negative side of things, and this can have the opposite effect of what we are trying to achieve–getting children to be less fussy at mealtime. 

Perhaps you have more ideas to share. I would love to hear them.



3 thoughts on “Do You Have a Fussy Eater On Your Hands? These Tips Might Help”

  1. Judy Stock says:

    I especially like the idea of the kids helping grow their food. They are much more apt to at least be willing to try a bite. I had all boys, so my words may not mean much to mothers of girls. My four boys did have food likes and dislikes. I planned meals so each meal would have at least one food each of them liked. I grew up on “Spaghetti Red.” Love the stuff. None of the boys liked it that well. They all liked “Spaghetti and Meatballs.” Three liked oatmeal for breakfast. One of them gagged on it. Another didn’t like fresh tomatoes. I figured, if I had a couple of things on the table that each of them would welcome on his plate, I had done my job. One ended up a cook; another ended up a gardener; a third ended up making wine. The fourth was a jock; he ended up a coach, but I guarantee you, he enjoys the benefits produced by the other three. If I cooked something new, I would insist on one bite, chewed correctly, so they really knew how it tasted. None of this swallowing it whole. I never insisted they eat what they really didn’t like. I never insisted they clean their plates. I really never paid much attention to what or how much they ate. I did try to instill manners and “don’t chew with your mouth open.” There is a medical term “benign neglect.” It is a “first, do no harm” type treatment where the doctor does a wait and see. It is amazing how many times a patient gets well without treatment. That’s how I treated eating. Don’t worry about it. If no one has made as issue of eating, when they are hungry, they will eat.

    1. luvboxerdogs says:

      Great advice, Judy.

      I have been trying the philosophy of putting something new on her plate but having other foods she likes, and it works. She is eating many more foods than she did at this time last year, and she is willing to try just about anything because she knows it won’t be forced if she just tries at least one bite.

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