Has your child ever said this to you? If not, you have somehow managed to bypass the rite-of-passage most parents go through, as they try to raise their children to be all-round good eaters.

Struggling with a fussy eater is usually just a phase but while it’s going on, it can be stressful for the child – and the parents. Sometimes asking, pleading, tempting and cajoling just isn’t enough.

So what can you do?

As a Mum of a fussy eater, here are some tips – firstly some mind-set ideas around how to re-frame this whole subject and then some
practical tips to help you think about how to make meal-times less fraught.

Mindset

Remember, every child has different tastes. Not every child likes green beans – and may never like green beans. It’s normal to dislike certain
tastes and textures, even as adults.

Try not to compare your child. This can be difficult, especially if you have good eaters in your family. While tempting, it won’t help you or your child and could do the opposite.

Know that most children eat what they need. Their bodies will tell them where to get the nutrients they need. Encouraging more healthy foods is a good idea but not to the point of stressing you out.

Practical

Start serving unpopular foods on a regular basis.

Chop up a few bits and leave it on a plate within arm’s reach. Some children will accept the food on their plate (mine wouldn’t!). When a child has full control over the experience of trying something new, they’re far more likely to feel involved.

Encourage any attempts to try something new.

We used to clap and cheer when our little boy ate a single pea. After a ‘vegetable barrier’ (where no vegetables where eaten for about five years), it felt like he’d won gold at the Olympics. He will now eat a few peas at most dinner times.

Hide the vegetables (or other fussy food) in sauces or other parts of the meal. This didn’t work for us but it has for many families.

Cook together – this worked for us – but only if we were making cakes! Our little boy would happily eat carrot cake after grating carrots. There are some fantastic recipes for cooking with fussy eaters that you can do together.

Last thoughts

Try not to focus on this stage too much. It can feel all consuming but it is just a phase that will eventually pass. Talking to older Mums who’ve been though it is also reassuring. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

This article has been contributed by Sarah Kate Holford. She is a life purpose coach and mother to one fussy eater. She helps
women transform their lives by finding work that works for them.