Fussy Eaters.... What to do???



If you’ve ever had a child that has been or is a fussy eater than you will understand the pain. It can be an extremely heart breaking time for parents. All you want is your child to be eating healthy nutritious food however you find yourself feeding them peanut butter sandwiches with white bread and no crust or plain sausages in white bread and highly processed tomato sauce. You probably feel like a terrible parent depriving your child of nutritious food because everyone tells you that this is the most crucial period for your child’s growth and development. However you’re not along and it’s more common than you probably realise, don't stress!! And even better news is that there’re ways to help.

The old ways of bribing your child through removal of toys or refusing dessert to encourage them to eat dinner can be thrown out the door. This technique has been proven to do absolutely nothing. Rather, studies have shown that parents who are seen to eat the food regularly has a much more effective outcome.

It is believed that through the gestation period certain food preferences are developed. This can be both genetic and unlearned. Research has also revealed that through gestation and lactation foods can become familiarized. What the mother eats during these stages has shown to increase the infant’s food preferences.

A case study performed on mothers in their third trimester of pregnancy and the first two months of lactations showed that those who consumed large amounts of carrot juice resulted in the child preferred carrot tasting cereal over those children whose parents didn’t consumed the large quantities of carrot juice. This study was to prove that the child’s foods preferences can be controlled and as early as the gestational or lactation periods.

As the children gets older they can develop what’s called neophobia which is simply fear of the new.  The two most important factors here is experience, especially through food exposure, and associative learning. Exposure to foods, 6 to 16 times, has been proven to increase the intake and preferences for the foods. A study has also indicated that food originally given with a lot of sugar and then given a second time with minimal or no sugar is still preferred over other food that tastes similar.



-       When pregnant and breastfeeding it's recommended to continue eating a variety of healthy food

-       Be seen by your children eating healthy food often

-       The more exposure the kids have too certain food the higher chance they will end up liking the food

-       Get the children involved with cooking

-       Educate your children about food, where it is from and how it is good for them

-       Be patient, you’re not alone

-       Remember your child will eat when they are hungry, you won’t starve them by refusing certain food

Sarah Stewart