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Fussy Eating in Toddlers… A nutritionists top tips! - By Sophie Bertrand Rnutr

Fussy Eating in Toddlers… A nutritionists top tips! - By Sophie Bertrand Rnutr

Mar 21, 2023Charlotte Thompson
Fussy eating habits is something I think the majority of parents can empathise with! Fussy eating can be defined by the unwillingness to eat new or familiar foods whilst sometimes favouring other foods. Fussy eating may start from weaning, or kick in around 1-2 years of age… When they start to find their voice! Children are also developing so much in their early years and this can also affect the way they behave towards food.
 
The good news is, there are things we can be doing to help encourage more variety. Although fussy eating can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, it is so important to try and remain positive and create a happy environment when it comes to food. We want our children to have an enjoyable perception around eating and overtime this may help encourage them to become more adventurous.
 
So here are a few things you can do to enhance your child’s meal times:
 
Have a routine
As a parent, you get to decide what they are offered and at what time and they can decide how much they eat. I personally like to plate everything up on the same plate. I don’t make a habit of offering ‘dessert’ as I want my child to see all foods on an even playing field. Most of the time he will always choose to eat his fruit first, but he then starts to make his way around the rest of the plate. Try not to get into the habit of offering something else if they refuse what you have given them. Babies are clever and will soon learn that if they kick up a fuss they will get the foods they really want.
 
Be positive
Make mealtimes a happy time! Put some music on in the background, don’t pressure them to eat and chat with them whilst they’re eating. If they start throwing foods they don’t want on the floor (we’ve been there), I would always keep a neutral face, pick it up and put it back on the plate and calmly say ‘please don’t throw food’. I also started to say to my son ‘if you don’t want it, put it back in the bowl’ and would even go as far as having a separate bowl for the food he didn’t want.
 
Be consistent
Keep offering variety. I know it is frustrating when you can almost predict what they won’t eat but the more you offer it, the more familiar they’ll become with a variety of foods. Kids can be terrible at eating greens for example. But I offer steamed green veg a few times a week and I see my son picking it up and putting it in his mouth and spitting it out. But at least he’s putting it in his mouth! Taste buds are always evolving so don’t give up and keep offering that diversity.
 
Eat with them!
Research shows that the more our children see us enjoying food, the more of a positive association they will have with it. I saw such a huge change in my son’s eating habits when we took him to California with us for 3 weeks when he was 13 months old. We ate every single meal together and ate out a lot too and he was so much more adventurous. It is really important to remember that, like us adults, our children’s appetites may increase and decrease based on various different factors. They might be having a growth spurt, be teething, feeling under the weather etc. But if you are concerned about your child’s nutritional intake and / or prolonged negative eating behaviours then please seek individual support. 
 
I have lots of different recipes, lots of which are ‘fussy eating friendly’ in my ‘healthy mama, healthy baby’ ebook. 
 
About the author:
Sophie Bertrand is a Registered Nutritionist, co-host and co-author of Forking Wellness, owner of her nutrition consultancy and Mum to her son Romeo.
With a BSc in Psychology and MSc in Clinical Nutrition, she understands the importance of marrying the two together to support good health.
 
There is so much more to eating well than just ‘eating well’. Healthy looks different on everyone and Sophie helps to empower people to see looking after their health as a lifestyle.
 
Find Sophie on Instagram @sophiesbertrand_ and on her website https://sophiebertrand.com/

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