Essential tips to address the particular eating habits of children

Picky or fussy eating is something most parents face at some point. It’s usually just a phase, but it can be worrying for parents.

Follow these tips to help your child develop better eating habits:

Encourage your child to touch, smell and taste food

Lead by example and eat with them

Praise your child when they eat well

Stay calm and positive

Give smaller portions at first. If they finish, offer them more

Don’t force feed – your child may develop a negative association with a food

Don’t bribe or pressure

Don’t give children drinks or snacks close to mealtimes

Turn off the television or any other distractions

Keep offering. It can take as many as 10 times for a child to try a food and like it

Remember, not all foods are liked by children. To make sure they are not missing out on important food groups, here are some alternatives you can give your child:

If your child refuses vegetables:

Offer vegetable sticks as snacks

Blend them up in soups and meals

Mash with potatoes – carrots and parsnips work well

Many children prefer fruit, so give an extra piece of fruit instead

If your child refuses to drink milk:

Add cheese to mashed potato or pasta dishes

Add milk to mashed potato and sauces

Offer yoghurt or cheese as a snack

Try milk-based desserts like custard or rice pudding

If your child refuses meat:

Offer eggs – boiled, poached or scrambled!

Use baked beans or try peas and lentils

Serve meat with a sauce or gravy

Try casseroles using pulses like lentils and chickpeas instead of meat


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