The parents of fussy eaters will be happy to know that they are in good company; nearly every family has at least one fussy eater. The parental concerns regarding a fussy eater are generally twofold: the child's nutrition, and the kind of habits the child is forming. The good news is that overall, even fussy eaters are able to fare well nutritionally, and, eventually even the most particular of eaters seem to come around.
Here are a few tips to arm you while you are in the meal time trenches with your little one:
1. Do not make it a power struggle.
Granted, this is challenging. But, if you make this a power issue with bribes, ultimatums, and frustration, the child will gain control over the situation. They will also begin to build negative associations with meal time. Instead, use praise as a motivator, keep offering good choices, and modelling the desired behaviour.
2. Offer limited choices
A great desire for all children is to be able to control their environment. Sometimes offering a choice where each option is acceptable can give your child the feeling that they have some power over the situation, without you having to surrender true control. Choices like, which colour bowl or cup, an apple or an orange, carrots or cucumber, etc. Offering these inconsequential choices can go a long way in easing the power struggle, especially if you proactively offer the choice, before the struggle even has a chance to begin.
3. Offer healthy choices with lots of variety
If you are concerned with your child's nutritional intake, be sure that every choice you offer is a healthy one. By limiting sweets and processed foods, and offering plenty of whole foods, you can be sure that whatever your child chooses to eat, they are getting something of value. Continue to introduce variety with vegetables and other foods; you never know when one will strike a responsive chord and become a favourite.