Do I have to eat all this? A guide to avoiding fussy eaters.

By: Karen Dennis

Another request from Sarah Knight, this time for fussy eaters. Thank you so much Sarah.

My experience with my own children, as far as eating goes is that they usually eat most things, until around twelve months, when the picky eating starts.

My eldest son would eat a varied diet until this age and then he started to get fussy.

By the time he started started school he refused to eat fruit of any description in spite of me giving him a good variety when he was a baby. He used to love mashed banana and stewed apple ( I used to stew eating apples for him,so I didn’t need to add sugar).

His school had fruit time mid morning, where the pupils where encouraged to eat fruit brought in from home. I thought that when my son saw his peers tucking into their fruit he would want to do the same, but I was wrong; he still refused to eat it! Eventually he was persuaded to take in a small box of raisins

When I married my second husband, my son was virtually living off peanut butter sandwiches and yoghurts. I was under the impression that because peanuts are full of protein this was O.K. but as the saying goes, all things in moderation.. My son was becoming hyper active and his behaviour was suffering. It was my husband who realised that the diet may be the cause of these problems, so we weaned him off the peanut butter and encouraged a more varied diet, within weeks my son was back to his old self. Now as an adult, he will eat anything!

As a childminder I came across a child who was afraid of certain food, worrying about making a mess (I feel I need to point out that I didn’t mind a mess) It was the child’s parent who was obsessed with cleanliness and made her child afraid of dirtying clothes. I reassured the child that I would sponge off any marks and if that didn’t work, I would change her clothes and wash the offending ones so mummy wouldn’t know. (I didn’t usually encourage children to be deceitful, but on this occasion, felt she needed reassuring) I have also heard of children actually becoming food phobic because of the worry of getting dirty.

Also when childminding I tried to encourage healthy eating by doing activities with the children, such as making a fruit salad. At this time I asked the children if they knew where grapes came from and one little girl informed me ”We get them from Tesco”

Another way of encouraging children to eat healthily is to set a good example and let them see you eat well. You could set aside a small area of the garden and let them grow their own vegetables, even cress grown on a widow sill is a start.

Basically give your child a varied selection of foods, avoiding too many sweet things from a young age. Try not to nag if your child refuses to eat, as it is all too easy for meal times to become a battle ground. Praise your child when he does eat, even just a small amount and give small portions, so they are not put off by the amount of food on the plate. TRY TO STAY CALM. GOOD LUCK AND BON APPETIT.

As always, feel free to leave a comment or ask questions.