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    Top tips for fussy eaters

    Tips for Convincing Fussy Eaters to Eat What They REFUSE to Eat

    With thanks to Olivia Cheng, Yumble Kids

    Having a fussy eater at your table can be frustrating for parents. You want to do what you can to get your kids to eat healthy and you are tired of seeing a variety of healthy foods going uneaten at mealtime. A common issue for many parents is getting a child to eat one specific food that he or she just refuses to try. If this sounds familiar, there is no reason to worry too much. To some degree, pickiness is common for young children. With time, they might be more open to trying new food. However, the following tips can be used to move them toward trying the food in the meantime. 

    Keep Trying

    Don’t get discouraged if your child does not try a new food the first few times you offer it to them. Children can be naturally suspicious of things that are new, so they might be hesitant to try it on the first few exposures. If you give up early, they may never try it later in life. Make the food available and offer it to them regularly. It may take several exposures before they try the new food, but it will gradually become more familiar. 

    Don’t Forget Variety

    Your child needs a diet that includes a diverse range of foods. Don’t get too hung up on getting them to try something specific at the expense of variety. Furthermore, it can help to put the new food aside for a little while to give your fussy eater a chance to forget about how much they don’t want to try it. The idea is to balance offering a new food to your kid without offering it to them so much that they decide never to try it. Make the new food a regular part of your weekly meal planning, but don’t put it on the menu so much that it becomes an issue. 

    Avoid Food Bribes

    This approach is natural for many parents. You want to get your child to do something, so you offer them a reward. In the case of trying a new food, you might offer the child’s favourite dessert as a reward for trying the new food. While this might work in the moment, it could have the effect of making the new food seem like a chore they just have to get through in order to get to the reward at the end. Research has shown that repeated exposure is a better approach than offering a reward. Increased exposure is more likely to change the child’s opinion of the food and it is also more likely to increase consumption of the food. 

    Have Fun

    Kids will be more likely to try new foods if you find ways to make it fun. Arrange the food to look like a face or a picture or find a way to make eating a game. If your child is old enough, you could let them help with preparing the food to get them interested. Another option is to cut the food up into fun and interesting shapes. 

    Don’t Make it Mandatory 

    Making a food mandatory is another recipe for failure. You might be able to get your fussy eater to eat the food, but they are unlikely to ever like it. Furthermore, you should encourage your child to listen to his or her body when it comes to their appetite. If your child won’t eat something that is on their plate, don’t tell them they can’t leave the table until they try it. Instead, be patient and offer encouragement. Trying to force a food on your child is more likely to result in them actively disliking it and they will never grow to eat it on their own. As a final tip, set an example. Most children learn their food preferences from their parents. Eat with your children as much as possible and show your child how much you enjoy the food you want them to try. If they see you eating and enjoying the food regularly, it will eventually get their interest in a way that will make them want to try it.  Yumble Kids is a weekly subscription service that delivers prepared, balanced, and delicious kids meals to busy parents’ homes.     Disclaimer: The views and advice given in this article are those of the guest writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Weaning Week or any other organisations represented on this platform    

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