Many parents may wonder what can be done for fussy eaters. We have a few pointers for those children that are fussy about everything they eat.
6 tips to beat fussy eating
Establish mealtimes where you can sit together as a family around a table. Establish a calm environment by playing some calming background music. Do not keep the TV on, be interactive with one another. The parents around the table should also consume a healthy balanced plate of food. ‘Monkey see monkey do’!
Have 3 main meals at a table at the same time every day as far as possible and offer two small snacks during the day. When it comes to fussy eaters, do not deviate from this routine. Constant snacking in between due to poor main meal intake is out of the question. Snacks can be offered in a more relaxed environment, but do not run after the child while playing to try and feed snacks, the child should be in a relaxed environment.
2Give Authority to your child
Most toddlers want to have some sort of authority when it comes to food and meals. While you still have the authority as you are the adult make your child believe that he/she has control over what he/she wants to eat. This can be achieved by making your child believe that they have the power in deciding what meal they want to have. You can provide them with 1-3 options and then let them make the decision. Show physical food or pictures of food.
Let your child sit in her own chair with her own plate of food, this will also contribute towards a feeling of authority.
If your child is a fussy eater, let them be part of the preparation process. E.g. let them hand you the items in the fridge, rolling dough, washing fruits and vegetables or let them help dad turn the meat on the fire.
Get very creative with the presentation of the food. Choose his/her favourite colours, choose a picture and tell stories - or let the plate tell a story.
If interested, allow your child to help you dish up the plates. Explain: "Daddy is a big man; he needs a little bit more vegetables to stay healthy and strong. Mommy is a bit smaller so will you please dish up a little less for mommy, this is your plate how much do you think you need?
Do not dish a big plate rather give him/her a second helping if still hungry. Too much food on the plate might be overwhelming.
6Storytelling & game playing
Play a game (see board game further down) throughout the entire meal if needed or just tell a story if the motivation is needed for the last few bites. E.g. this last tomato really wants to sleep in your warm snuggly stomach, do you think we can give him a bed for tonight; otherwise he'll be lonely and cold?