We all dream of the perfect family meal, where everyone is enjoying their meal, there are no complaints and all plates are cleared.
But, of course, life isn’t that simple.
Having a fussy eater in the family can be the biggest pain, altering your carefully planned our meals and refusing to enjoy the food you’ve just spent hours slaving over the stove for.
From turning their noses up at veggies to suddenly deciding they want to be vegetarian and not liking different foods touching on their plate, dinner can be one of the biggest challenges of your family day.
The easiest reaction can be to shout, get annoyed and throw the food in the bin which is the gateway to a huge temper tantrum, lots of tears and a hungry little one.
The best way to deal with a fussy eater is to first establish their reservations and then remembering that it won’t last forever, (hard to believe, I know).
The trick is to not shout, nag and kick up a fuss, instead steer away from what they’re doing and their eating habits. The more you give it the attention they crave, the more they will focus on their fussy habits and the longer it will continue. If they see you get agitated, or if you try to force them to eat, this could make the situation worse.
Don’t worry too much – all children will go through phases of their favourite and least favourite foods and these will change sometimes on a weekly basis. It is important to remember that if they’re not underweight, they seem healthy and are eating some foods from each of the main food groups, then you shouldn’t worry too much.
One of the best tricks I have found to work is allowing your child to be hungry before they eat. If they are hungry then they will be more willing to enjoy their food so only allowing water and squash, as well as fruit and vegetables as snacks between meals, ensures that they are hungry at key mealtimes, reducing the risk of a fussy eating episode.
Another key trick I have discovered is to avoid junk food at all costs, you don’t want to encourage your little ones to love the food that is bad for them, especially when they are young. Eating this kind of junk food will only spur their fussy tendencies and have them dreaming of that burger, chips and coke whilst staring at a plate of pasta and salad.
It is always hard dealing with fussy children but persistence, not nagging and encouraging healthy choices. In time, they will realise that mum’s food is the best and they will forget their fussy tendencies allowing for a peaceful and successful family mealtime.