What to do with your fussy eater of a child? If you’re a stressed out parent, here are some tips for you to try:

1. Persevere! Introduce your child to as many foods as possible

Even if you think your child is fussy with food, limiting what they eat may only serve to escalate their fussiness. And this will lead to a bigger worry – your child possibly missing the essential nutrients they need to develop and grow. So persevere with offering them a wide variety, and don’t despair or give up! Best-selling author and expert on baby food and nutrition, Annabel Karmel, says “the best thing is to be upfront about fruit and vegetables, tell them where they come from and why they are so good for you.”

“Giving them facts could make them more interested about what they are eating. I used to offer a starter – a little teacup or saucer of something new that they could try that would be in addition to their main meal,” she offers on her website.

2. Small Amounts, 20 Days

If trying to get your child to eat their broccoli or carrots are an exercise in futility, here’s some advice from UCL psychologist Dr Clare Llewellyn. If your child dislikes or refuses a particular food, offer them a very small amount of that food for 20 consecutive days in a row. She says research has shown if you try this approach, you are reducing the fear factor and it increases your child’s familiarity with the food, and they are much more likely to eat it.

3. All-Day Snacking – Don’t Do It

It’s a dilemma – your child is fussy and hardly eats, and so you worry about their hunger and feed snacks to them all day.  Consultant paediatric cardiologist Dr Yong Junina urges parents to avoid all-day snacking for their children, and this includes milk or juice. Feeding them so many snacks will affect their appetite and they may refuse their meals.

“As a general guide, children between one to six years old should eat no more than six times a day (three meals and two to three snacks, at least two hours before mealtime). They should also drink no more than two to three glasses of milk a day. Limit fruit juices to no more than three-quarters of a cup of freshly squeezed juice and avoid giving him store-bought juices, as these are loaded with sugar,” Dr Yong says.

4. Try Food Chaining

Dr Mark Fishbein is a pediatric gastroenterologist and co-author of ‘Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Child’s Diet‘. He recommends using a technique called ‘food chaining’ for fussy eaters, in which you slowly introduce different foods that are similar in taste or texture to ones your child already likes.

So if your child loves peanut butter, for example, you could try serving it up on crackers, mini bagels or thin apple slices to encourage them further. “Do it in a nonthreatening way, and offer a lot of positive reinforcement,” says Dr. Fishbein. “Most parents report having success within several weeks.”

5. Sneak some veggies or consider supplements

If your child is truly fussy, nothing seems to work and you are worried about their nutrition, then you can always sneak vegetables into their food. Whether it is being a little creative – courgette fries? – or cooking special recipes with hidden veggies (Try this yummy veggie pasta sauce recipe by Annabel Karmel) there is no harm in trying things out! As experts say vitamin and mineral supplementation may be considered if the child’s diet is deemed nutritionally inadequate, you can also try supplements like Chewies Multivitamins which are specifically formulated to help the body meet its nutrition requirements.

The multivitamins also help to improve appetite, support brain function and protect the retina. If you’re concerned about your child’s immunity, you can also try Chewies Immunolicious, a great tasting gummy for children ages two and up. Each gummy comes loaded with 50mg of Wellmune®, a natural yeast beta glucan that can trigger human immune defences to protect the body. Wellmune® is clinically-proven to safely enhance the immune system and kills foreign intruders without stimulating immune system, immune boosters or stimulators by activating innate immune body cells.

And there you go, some things that may help your fussy eater and keep her or him happy and healthy!


By Nellie Liang

Chewies is available at Guardian, Watsons, Caring, Vitacare, Aeon Wellness and all participating pharmacies. More information, head to the Chewies Facebook page here.


This is a sponsored post presented by Chewies.

Your little boy or girl seems to be a happy child. He or she is healthy, growing well and doing all the right things children usually do. So, you take a back seat and enjoy watching them grow at their own pace.

But what if your child is not growing at the rate he or she should be for his or her age?

A Wake Up Call

The Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA) is becoming increasingly concerned that many Malaysian children, from all family backgrounds, are experiencing growth problems.

MPA President, Associate Prof Dr. Muhammad Yazid Jalaludin said there are some sobering facts about children under five-years-old. The data from the National Health and Morbidity Survey should serve as a wake up call for parents.

“The prevalence of stunting (low height-for-age) increased from 17 per cent in 2006 to 20.7 per cent in 2016. That’s about two in 10 children. Meanwhile, underweight children increased from 12.9 per cent in 2006 to 13.7 per cent in 2016,” Dr. Muhammad said.

Kids from all backgrounds are affected

Such growth problems can develop in poor as well as affluent families. Unfortunately, parents often miss the signs of sluggish growth. They realise only later that their children have failed to achieve their potential. “They may have also become at risk of associated health, developmental and psycho-social issues,” he said.

According to Dr. Muhammad, many factors contribute to growth problems. Among the more prominent factors are children with feeding difficulties and inadequate nutrition (due to poor diet quality). Frequent illness at a young age, underlying chronic disease and certain developmental disorders are also contributing factors.

“Without intervention, these children risk developing long-term health, cognitive and psycho-social issues,” he said.

Doctors to the rescue

Keeping all these factors in mind, the MPA introduced its first concerted childhood growth screening and counselling campaign. They called it the IMFeD Malaysia – ‘Get Growth On Track’ Campaign, in collaboration with Abbott Malaysia.

Through the programme, paediatricians across the nation will evaluate children’s growth by examining their weight and height. This will then be compared to a growth chart.

IMFeD Malaysia chairman Professor Dr Lee Way Seah said the next five years (2018 – 2023) will see the scope expand to include screening and intervention for feeding and nutrition issues.

This is a timely development in light of data that has revealed an alarming prevalence of poor growth in Malaysia.

“It is an alarming situation but the MPA hopes to make a difference.,” said Prof. Lee. Currently, it has deployed the IMFeD expert panel to train over 150 paediatricians all over the country to detect and manage growth problems.

“The expert panel has also produced educational materials containing vital information and tips for parents,” he said.

Parents, early intervention matters 

Get professional advice so your child can feed well and grow well.

Prof. Lee said parents who are concerned about their children’s growth rate or who want to learn more about this programme should take advantage of it.

Parents can talk to the doctors from participating paediatric clinics about their children’s growth. The doctors would be able to investigate the reasons behind a child’s sub-optimal growth. They can then offer strategies and methods to boost the child’s growth.

If the child has inadequate nutritional intake and where appropriate, the doctor may recommend a complete nutritional supplement. This will help the child catch up and stay on course for optimal growth. There is a limited window of time to correct poor growth and get children back on their potential growth trajectory.

“It is very important that everything is done to help the child catch up to their optimal growth as soon as possible,” said Prof. Lee.

It is also important to continue seeing your doctor regularly to monitor the child’s growth. The doctor would be able to plot the child’s weight and height on the growth chart. Then they will advise parents accordingly if they notice a lag or decline in the child’s growth.

Parents who wish to find out more about the ‘Get Growth On Track’ campaign or locate a paediatrician may contact the IMFeD Malaysia programme secretariat at [email protected]. Telephone: 012-284 1628 or 012-772 1628.


According to a recent South East Asian Nutrition Surveys (SEANUTS) report on Malaysian children, it was found that one in 20 children were underweight while one in five were obese or overweight.

“Overall, our children carry the burden of dual malnutrition; this means there are both cases of under and overnutrition, but overnutrition is much more prevalent comparatively,” explained Professor Dr Poh Bee Koon, Head of the Nutritional Sciences Programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Principal Investigator for SEANUTS Malaysia, during a discussion on the implications of worrying health status of Malaysian children organised by Dutch Lady Malaysia.

It has been found that stunting is most prevalent among urban boys and girls six to 10 months; and among rural boys and girls from one to 3.9 years and seven to 12 years respectively.

More worrying is that a high proportion of school-aged children from seven to 12 years reported low physical activity, and that overweight and obesity were most prevalent among urban boys and girls as well as rural boys.

“Most of our children are increasingly leading a sedentary lifestyle with decreasing physical activities outdoor or under the sun. This is a worrying trend,” said Dr Mehander Singh Nahar, a sports and physical educator from the Ministry of Education. “The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children and youth aged five to 17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.”

The SEANUTS report findings also revealed that nearly half the children in both urban and rural areas suffered from Vitamin D deficiency. Dr Yong Junina Fadzil, Consultant Paediatrician, said that “children need Vitamin D for bone growth and development as it helps to absorb calcium. When the sun’s UVB radiation shines on skin, the bodies will naturally make Vitamin D.”

Dr Junina advised parents to encourage children to play outdoors to get more sunlight and natural Vitamin D. Even so, she added that “although sunshine is the source of Vitamin D, diet is of course the source of calcium.”

When asked if overweight or obese children should still drink milk, Dr Junina explained that “the growing child still needs calcium and other vital nutrients, and milk is one of the sources of it.

“Depending on the child’s lifestyle and daily nutrient intakes, you can opt to switch from full cream milk to skim milk or low fat milk. If the child is overweight, limit the recommended servings to three glasses per day and ensure that he or she gets a wide variety of nutritious foods too,” Dr Junina added.

In his concluding remarks, Rahul Colaco, Managing Director of Dutch Lady Malaysia, expressed that “by initiating this discussion among parties who have the health of Malaysian children at their hearts, we hope to generate awareness and more conversations on the topic for parents, healthcare professionals and even policymakers, so that they can jointly take proactive measures towards improving our children’s health.”

Image Credit: Another Brick Wall