(That’s brown play doh on the table by the way just incase anyone was thinking it’s poop LOL)
I guess I’ve been lucky that both of my children have always been pretty good eaters. They’d quite happily eat anything I put in front of them and a good portion of it too. It made meal times really simple. It always made me feel good knowing that they enjoyed what I’d made them to eat, it gave me great satisfaction to see that they’d eaten all of their dinner I’d made them and it made me proud that they ate some of the healthier food choices I made for them too. That is until recently anyway… Kory has become such a fussy eater lately and it’s proven to be quite the challenge. Where as Kora will still quite happily eat anything and everything we give her.
I guess I didn’t realise just how lucky I was… At least one of my children is still eating the food I make them without complaining!
I do try to give my children lots of fruit and vegetables and most of the time they will eat them but I’ve never been the type of parent to claim that they only prepare fresh, healthy, home cooked food for their children every day. In an ideal world that would be great but some days can get a little crazy and sometimes it’s required to just grab whatever you can find out of the freezer and whack it in the oven and there’s nothing wrong with that. My kids do eat frozen pizzas, fish fingers, chicken nuggets and that sort of thing too before anyone starts thinking I’m some sort of snob but because my children have always been such good eaters, I do try to give them as much goodness as I can because it’s good for them but not just that, I know that they’ll eat it anyway and it’s because of this that I never thought I’d have to worry about either of them becoming fussy when it comes to food.
I was wrong. And in this blog post I’d like to talk about how I’ve learned to cope with my very own little fussy eater and what I find helps with that.
Now I’m no Gordon Ramsay but I’m pretty sure my cooking isn’t THAT bad. Kory started out as a really good eater and always has been up until recently. So much so that if he was ever ill, I knew this because he’d be off his food which would be so unlike Kory, he LOVED his grub. He would always finish his breakfast, dinner, tea and supper with snacks in between too and would always look forward to whatever I made him without kicking up a fuss. When all of a sudden this all changed. His favourite foods he once loved, such as, meatballs, scrambled egg, pasta, he wouldn’t even touch anymore. These were all things he’d previously enjoyed, they were things he used to ask me to make him multiple times a week so I couldn’t understand why he suddenly stopped liking them. At first it was just a couple of things he no longer liked and then he started to question everything I was making him to eat.
Everything I made him would be met with a resounding ‘I don’t like that anymore’ or ‘ew what’s that’ and it got to a point were the only things Kory would eat were noodles and chicken nuggets so mealtimes became a bit of a nightmare in our house. Once I’d established that there was no underlying condition for him to suddenly become such a fussy eater and that it was simply just a case of him growing more independent and deciding for himself what he’d like to eat, I introduced some changes to the way that I was trying to encourage him to eat more of a varied diet and I have to say, it’s had a positive result.
I’d love to say that Kory has gone back to eating anything and everything I make him again but he does not, however, he does eat more of a wide range of foods now.
So, what changes did I make I hear you ask?
Well, experts will tell you that you shouldn’t ‘bribe’ children to eat, however as a parent of a fussy eater, it’s one of the things that worked for me. Just a few of the things Kory hadn’t lost his taste for were crisps, sweets and chocolate and so if he wanted to eat any of those, he had to eat his dinner or at the very least try what was on his plate first. The second change I made was I added ‘eat all of my dinner’ to Kory’s reward chart which he has to fill, amongst other things on his reward chart by the end of the week in order to get a treat. The third change I made was I tried a different way to encourage Kory to try new foods, instead of just saying ‘it’s good to try new things’ which it is but that just wasn’t cutting it for Kory. Instead, I’d sit with him at mealtimes and we’d talk about what was on our plates, if I had something different, I’d tell him it was nice and ask him if he’d like to try some which 9 times out of 10, because he’d seen me eating it, he wanted to try some for himself. The last thing I tried to encourage Kory to try new foods was I incorporated some of his interests into our meal times. So an example of this would be that I told Kory that Spider-Man said it’s good to try new things, there’s actually a video of this on YouTube and when I showed it to Kory it made him smile. I mean, it’s one thing your mum telling you but Spider-Man?! Well then it must be true. Really think about your child’s interests and how you can use this to bribe them LOL just kidding, well sort of, but it could really boost their willingness at meal times.
Another big way to increase your child’s interest in food is to get them involved with the actual cooking process so that they can see what they’re going to be eating and how it was made. It’s a great way to get them to try new foods and worked for us.
Kory’s willingness for trying new things is getting better all the time. He will still ask lots of questions and prod at food before he tastes it but nevertheless, he tastes it and that’s all that matters.
Finally, what I would like to say is – if your child is a fussy eater try not to stress and/or worry. It can be frustrating but stressing about it won’t help you or your child as they will pick up on that and stressing never helps anybody, it doesn’t change anything. The more I pushed Kory to eat, the less willing he was to try anything new to eat. Sometimes what you’re doing will feel hopeless but just know that most children do grow out of fussy eating habits as they grow older. Be patient and try not to force anything on your child and in the mean time, offer them what you already know they will eat as well as a healthy option and a different side to try.
I am by no means an expert and I am by no means claiming to be, I just wanted to share with you all what works for us for anyone else who may be looking for ideas to help with their very own fussy little eater.
Is your child a fussy eater? What do you find helps them and you at meal times? Please leave me a comment below.
As always, thanks for reading.