10 ways to combat fussy eating
Let’s be honest feeding toddlers is challenging (to say the least).
I have lost count of the times that I’ve spent hours in the kitchen preparing a delicious, nourishing meal for Georgia to have her not even try it and push it away.
The disappointment and frustration is real.
And then the worry sets in.
If she won’t eat this will she get hungry, will she meet her daily iron, calcium, and protein needs. Should I make her something else? And on and on and on.
It is so hard and I feel for you if you’re in it right now, which is why I wanted to share 10 ways I helped Georgia overcome her fussiness and eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet.
Here are my top 10 ways to combat fussy eating:
1. Get them involved in the kitchen.
This is one of my favourite things to do with the kids. They are always there helping me cook breakfast, making our morning smoothie or juice, and preparing lunches. Trust me this one is so important!
2. Add in a daily smoothie.
When our kids are going through a picky stage it can be so helpful to reduce some of that pressure around mealtimes by offering them a nutrient-rich, jam-packed superfood smoothie that gets in greens, superfoods, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, etc. My e-book My Plant-based Family contains all of Georgia’s favourite smoothies (click here to take a look)
She also loves this Chocolate Superfood Smoothie.
3. Have fun at mealtimes.
Play games, laugh, talk about your day and even encourage them to play with their food if it helps them to connect and eat it. We’re always playing the game of who can get the most amount of peas into their mouth by throwing them up in the air. It’s fun and silly and it works every time!
4. Write down your toddler’s favourite healthy foods and make these front and center in their diet.
These foods will set the foundation for your toddler’s diet and then you can add in different exposure foods throughout the day. For example, Georgia loves chickpea pancakes, chia pudding, Chunky Monkey Chickpea Cookies and green smoothies. These are some of her staple meals that I make all the time for her.
5. When platting up make sure to include something they love, something they like, and something they are learning to like.
This will pretty much always mean that they will eat something and that you’re still exposing them to new foods and flavors.
6. Be a Role Model.
This one is massive! You can’t expect your toddler to eat healthy food if you don’t eat healthy food and how them how delicious it is and how much you love eating it.
7. Eat with them.
Georgia will always eat more and be happier if I’m sitting with her and eating a meal as well. It doesn’t have to be the same thing but just taking the time each day to sit and eat with them even if it’s just one meal will really help.
8. Don’t offer anything else if they don’t eat it.
This one can be so challenging especially if you know they’re hungry, but if you’ve followed by advice above by offering something they love and like then hopefully they have at least eaten this and you don’t have to worry about hunger. What I do is I wait until Georgia says she’s hungry again and then I put the food onto another plate, add something different and offer it again. This normally always works.
9. Reduce the pressure.
I know this one is hard but try and best you can to reduce the pressure and negativity around mealtimes. Keep it as light and happy as you can and remember to have fun. This is a phase and it will pass.
10. Keep offering new foods!
It can be so hard to cook food especially if you know they won’t eat it but by offering it to them time and time again you are exposing them to that food and making it more likely that they will try it and like it. I’ve had this happen so many times with Georgia which is why I know it works and why I still plate up lentil dahl for her even though she never eats it haha. But one day she will.
Wow, that was a lot!
I hope these 10 steps are helpful and that they give you some confidence in feeding your toddler and getting them to eat the nourishing, delicious meals that you create.
Do you have a picky toddler at home and what have you found to work to get them to eat?