Fussy eating

"The estimates of picky eating in childhood vary widely, ranging from 5 percent to more than 25 percent, depending on the definition of selective eating. But “there is no consensus on the prevalence in adults,” D r. Zucker said

Parents play a powerful role in children's eating behaviour, providing both genes and environment for children. For example, they influence children's developing preferences and eating behaviours by making some foods available rather than others, and by acting as models of eating behaviour."

You may be worried about yourself or your child not eating balanced meals . This blog aims to help you make a plan that will encourage your child and yourself to eat balanced meals and enjoy your meals

How do you recognise fussy eating?

  1. Regular refusal to eat certain food /foods

  2. Getting very upset when offered the offending food/foods

  3. Eating very small amount or none of the offending food/foods

  4. Behaviour change at meal times

  5. Health and energy levels are affected

Fussy eating can go away over time with new experiences but feeding difficulties may require support and advice from a health care professional Dietitian. When you or your child are not eating balance or healthy this can result for example child may not grow properly or yourself developing malnutrition or unhealthy habits that can cause weight gain/ weight loss

14 Top tips to help you and your child :

  1. Plan - make meal times relaxing and fun for everyone , plan together what you will eat and follow the balanced approach when planning meals- see the eat well plate guide .

  2. Have regular meals and snacks

  3. Avoid distraction - e.g TV dinners /games /using mobile

  4. Eat together as family- children copy adults so perhaps you can address your own eating habits first

  5. Have a small portion first of any new food that you have planned to eat

  6. Avoid reacting to the food in front of your child and show it's OK to say no to food rather than behave badly

  7. Take time to eat but not too long as meal times can become an ordeal

  8. Avoid an alternative meal to the one the whole family planned and is eating

  9. Make meals colourful, tempting and interesting

  10. Involve family in meal preparation so that you and your child are feeling comfortable with a new food you are willing to try

  11. Offer new food with favourite option and start small one new food at a time. You can try add the offending food into a family favourite dish .

  12. Family working as a team for preparing, laying the table , eating together ,washing and clearing the table together can encourage consistency, good routine and avoid any confusion

  13. Praise yourself and your child for trying something new or the offending food

  14. Go slow go small and go again to reduce any anxiety and increase familiarity . Above all be patient with your child and yourself .

References :

Parental influences on eating behaviours :https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2531152/

Research shows that kids watch parents :https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3736783/Is-child-fussy-eater-copying-Research-shows-kids-watch-parents-decide-foods-like-not.html

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