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.