Fussy Eating! It really is one of the biggest bug bears for mums and dads trying to raise healthy kids.
We want to get the nutrients in them and it can be very stressful on them and on us if we don't have a good eater. Picky eaters or fussy eaters are definitely a common species in a lot of households and if you are a parent of one, I want to help you feel better right away by saying: Most kids go through fussy eating stages.
Most kids don't suffer any health issues because of this.
Most kids grow out of it to become very happy and healthy eaters.
Most kids can have their eating habits improved by a few tips and tricks which I will outline below.
But quickly back to the stressful part - to the parent who is reading this, I want you to relax on this Fussy Eating subject a bit...
Before we begin tackling the topic of fussy eating I want you to know that just by you relaxing any anxieties you may have about this will help with the fussy eating before we even begin.
I'm not at all saying you are the cause of any fussy eating going on but I know that any progress you make with your child will be greatly helped if you realise upfront that it's all going to be ok and in fact your child is probably getting more nutrients than you think. Your child feeds off you more than you know and having a relaxed approach to food and meal times is going to improve things even without changing anything else.
If you and your child have tried everything I'm mentioning below, my advice would be to get a natural health practitioner on board (eg. naturopath, kinesiologist, holistic GP, chiropractor) and test for food allergies and intolerances and nutrient deficiencies that may be caused by conditions such as salicylate sensitivity, Pyrroles, MTHFR and poor gut health.
Interestingly, the body will reject foods that are causing mood disturbances and physical discomfort and even healthy foods can cause this if there are other things going on in the background.
Certain foods may be causing your child's digestion to be upset and they will inherently know that particular food doesn't work for them.
Of course fussy eating can simply be a case of fear of trying new things, anxiety surrounding certain textures and colours or simply feeling overwhelmed by food in general and then becoming resistant to new foods.
Ok so let's get started! Here are my top tips for Fussy Eaters -
Tips for Fussy Eating:
- As I said before, first tip is to make sure you test for food intolerances or food allergies if there is extreme fussiness in your child as it might be a case of foods upsetting their digestion.
- Make sure you are relaxed when serving your child food. Don't hover over them and appear anxious that they try anything. Tell them what it is and leave them (if possible) to play and experiment with the taste and textures. Be encouraging but let them be in control.
- Try to serve only one new food at a time and serve alongside some tried and tested favourites so it's not too overwhelming for them. Children are more likely to try something new if it appears next to something they are familiar with.
- Have a rewards chart or sticker chart for every time they 'try' a new food. Even if they choose not to eat it or finish it, they are rewarded for at least trying it.
- Repetition. Even if a child refuses to try a new food the first, second, third or fourth time, they might eventually try it if they get used to seeing it on their plate or watch others around them eat it.
- Eat with your children as much as possible without making a big deal of what they are eating or not eating. If they see you eating what they are eating, they will be more inclined to give it a go.
- Make mealtime relaxing. Get your kids to pick what music they want to listen to while you eat. - Get your kids involved in doing the shopping with you! Take them to the markets and ask them to pick out something that interests them. Ask them what they would like to try.
- Keep the majority of their diet packet free. Whole foods and real foods are less likely to be causing digestive disturbances and limiting the amount of refined foods, sugars, colours, preservatives and additives (that are found in most packet foods) will keep your child's microbiome (or gut bacteria) happy and healthy. The healthier our microbiome is, the less likelihood of food intolerance and poor immunity. The stronger the digestion, the less chance you will have of a child refusing foods due to physical discomfort!
- Consider a daily probiotic especially if you suspect any food intolerances (especially if your child has constipation, diarrhea, frequent sore tummy especially after meals etc). Ask for a good probiotic recommendation from an instore naturopath. There are plenty of great choices now in powder form that can be mixed into their favourite drink etc.
- Try some emotional support with my Fussy Eating flower essence blend. The essences I have used in this blend address the emotional aspects of fussy eating including helping to open children up to new experiences, improving digestion via calming the mind, decreasing overwhelm, resistance and worry. I also have a Fussy Eating Pack that is super helpful for the whole household that contain a fussy eater!! Read more about that pack HERE
Yours in Health,