If you’ve got a fussy eater, trying to get them to eat a balanced diet can be a real challenge. But more than 1 in 4 parents give up trying to get their children to eat healthily, according to a new survey by PaediaSure Shake, with 63% opting for the “anything is better than nothing” approach – letting their children have junk food once a week or more. So yes, that means giving in to your child’s ‘Wotsits phase’.
As a result, 65% of parents worry their child isn’t getting sufficient nutrients to help them grow. “My daughter’s not a great eater and I’m surrounded by people whose children are, or have been, ‘great eaters’ and this adds a certain feeling of pressure,” says Dr Pixie McKenna, GP and mum-of-1. “It’s natural when your child won’t eat certain things – anything green in my daughter’s case – to worry that you’ll be judged.”
Experts came together with a mum panel at the PaediaSure Shake Fussy Eating event to reveal there are things you can do to help your child eat more healthily. The mum panel were big believers in making food fun for their fussy eaters. One got around her son’s aversion to pasta by calling pasta with pesto ‘Dinosaur Pasta’. While another mum got her daughter to eat sandwiches by cutting them into shapes and calling them ‘Special Stars’.
But Dr Pixie says it’s not all about making special exceptions for a fussy eater. “All try to eat the same food at the same time together,” she recommends. “I’m a big believer in family meal times, to make eating time something positive for the child.”
Have you experienced fussy eating with your child? How did you cope? Let us know in the comments below.