If possible, try not to use sweet foods as a reward for your child eating all his savoury course. Ideally, you want to avoid establishing the thought that only sweet foods are pleasurable and all other foods are a chore; something that has to be eaten to get to the nice bit. If your child is a fussy eater and you feel he would benefit from an incentive, it’s better to use a non-food reward like a sticker.
Food can very quickly become a battleground between parents and children. If your child really doesn’t want to eat his dinner it may be best to leave it. You might find that at the next meal time, when he has more of a chance to work up an appetite, he’ll be more interested in eating. Remember that toddlers’ and children’s stomachs are quite small and so they often struggle to eat a lot in one sitting.
If you do offer puddings, focus on lighter options like yoghurt and fruit, and don’t insist that your child clears his plate first – healthy puddings like these form an important part of your child’s diet in their own right.
Answered by: Ceri Morgan and Ann Souter, nutritional therapists, www.recipeforhealth.co.uk