Dealing with fussy eaters and the food resistant
Lots of children can be fussy with food. For many parents this is a common issue they deal with during the toddler years. Many children grow out of it, some do not.
With the four children we have gone through and continue to experience a range of different relationships with food.
- I’ve had a fussy baby and resistant toddler who threw a lot of food around, turn into a child who eats pretty much anything, will try anything and has a great appetite, as well a healthy relationship with food;
- A baby who ate well until 3 ish and then became very fussy and still now likes limited things, as well as not always being keen to try new things;
- A baby who would eat anything and had a super appetite turn into a toddler who has spent the last 8 months eating very little variety, constantly changing what he does and doesn’t like and who has often been very resistant to food in general;
- A baby who has eaten very well overall providing he is in control. He is now turning into a toddler who will not eat everything and is exercising a preference and I’m sure there area many more changes to come.
I think the main thing I have learnt over the years is that children change, like the wind. Just because pasta carbonara was their favourite last week doesn’t mean it will be this week.
There are loads of tips available for encouraging fussy or reluctant eaters and they are all absolutely worth a go:
- Limit milk
- Make food fun
- Involve children in cooking and preparing food
- Eat together as a family
- Offer a range of foods
- Encourage children
- Use a star chart
- Limit snacks
However, I think the most important thing I have learnt over the years is to try not to hassle children about eating. You don’t want meal times to be a battleground, as that isn’t nice for anyone. It can also mean that children develop a poor relationship with food and eating in general.
As hard as it can be sometimes when you have made a lovely meal and it is refused, pushed away or even thrown on the floor, try to keep your cool.
Ride it out. It gets better, eventually. Maybe not as great as little Blossom down the road who eats everything her parents put in front of her, and never even gets bolognese down her, and who will sit in a restaurant happily for two hours whilst mummy and daddy eat…but it will get better.
For extra piece of mind I give the children a supplement like the range of children’s vitamins produced by Nature’s Own. The lemon fish oil is really good, mainly because it is one of the few omega 3 supplements that doesn’t taste of fish or leave a nasty aftertaste. This can be taken straight from the spoon but works the best when mixed into yoghurt. Vital for the brain and healthy vision, as well as supporting normal cardiac function. This is a great family product as it can be taken by the whole family, including babies.
One of the best products, and one of our favourites are the chewable gummy bears that work as a multivitamin and mineral supplement. These really appeal to the children because they look like little sweets but they don’t contain any artificial ingredients. The dose for these varies depending on the age of the child (up to three bears per day) and these ones are suitable for children age three years and over.
The kids immune support is an ideal accompaniment to the multivitamin and mineral supplement. These are also suitable for children age three and over but also great for much older people. If you have elderly family members who could do with a boost to their immune system then these would be worth a go. The disadvantage with these is that they are made as capsules to swallow. Whilst my 9 year old manages these just fine, they don’t work well for the younger children. Having said that, if you don’t mind fiddling a bit, you can open them up and mix with a drink or scatter over food.
How do you deal with resistance to food?