While fussy eating is part of normal childhood development, there are some suggestions parents can try to ensure it does not become a habit.
PUREED FOOD IS OPTIONAL
- Introduce textured and finger foods to children when they start eating solids like bite-size pieces of soft fruit and vegetables. Or skip pureed food altogether. Omitting or quickly moving on from it will help a child’s development.
NEVER MASK FLAVOURS
- Introduce your child to a good variety of flavours, and don’t combine flavours. Avoid making savoury, spicy or aromatic food more appealing by adding sweetness because then a child will prefer sweet flavours.
- Ensure your child is eating similar flavours to the rest of the family.
- Never force your child to eat food they reject. The “just take one more bite” approach can lead to food aversion.
- Don’t describe food as “healthy/unhealthy” or “good/bad” or use food as a reward. Saying: “if you eat your vegetables you can have dessert” demonises one food while it puts another food on a pedestal.
NEW EXPERIENCES ARE KEY
- Regularly introduce your child to new foods, flavours and textures. Even if they refuse to eat their portion, they might eventually decide to try those new foods.
- Never assume your child will grow out of fussy eating. If it’s clearly a problem as soon as they start solid foods, consult a professional to assess for sensory or swallowing issues.
SOURCE: Dr Jennifer Cohen from the University of NSW
(Australian Associated Press)