watermelon popsicle

How to get your fussy child to have a more colourful diet

About fussy eaters
Unfortunately, fussy eating is a bit of a rite of passage for most children. In fact according to research by Elizabeth Pantley, US parenting expert, a whopping 85% of parents have a child who is (or has been) picky about food.

But why are they so fussy and how can you introduce a bit of colour into their bland diet? We’ve teamed up with mumprenuers Meriel Kehoe and Lucy Woodhouse from Claudi and Fin to help you navigate the minefield of mealtimes!

So why are they so fussy?
It’s normal for a child to be a fussy eater; to not like the colour, shape or texture of a particular food or to eat certain foods one day but then refuse to eat them the next.

This can be due to a few reasons. Firstly children’s appetites fluctuate according to their growth cycles, so it’s very common for them to eat like a horse one day and then hardly anything the next. Secondly sometimes children are just too distracted to eat, they would rather be playing in the park or with a new toy, so stopping to eat is not high on their list of priorities.

The majority of time, however, you’ll find this has absolutely zero to do with food and more about staging their right for independence! It’s slightly disconcerting that your 2 year old can be making such demands and protests before they have even hit puberty, but this is their way of taking back some control and they will fight you tooth and nail for it!

Fear not, although it can sometimes feel like a bit of a battlefield, there are many things you can do to improve your child’s eating habits. Here are a few top tips!

Top tips for fussy eaters!

The one bite rule
This is a tried and tested technique whereby you introduce new foods to your child by asking them to eat one bite instead of a whole portion. Many people have found this an incredibly effective way of encouraging children broaden their diet.  Try using colourful vegetables to make it more appealing!

Get creative
Making food fun is a great way to get kids eating healthily. Try putting a slice of watermelon on a lolly stick or make fruit a feast for the eyes by putting together colourful kebabs.

Give them a choice
Make sure you always present them with options. This will help your children to feel in control and therefore diffuse the protest!

Get your kids involved
Getting your children involved in the kitchen is a brilliant way to get them engaged with food early on. When we first began developing recipes for our 100% natural lollies our children, Claudi and Fin, loved helping us and were always desperate to eat the results!  They enjoyed them so much we named them after them! Why not try making our Strawberry Greek style Frozen Yoghurt at home or if you run out of time you can always eat one of our lollies instead, as they’re packed with real fruit enriched with vitamin D for healthy bones!

Be sneaky
Sauces are a great way to pack in loads of vegetables completely under the radar! You can pop everything in a food processor so all traces of veg disappear into a smooth sauce. Try this one by My Fussy Eater

Have a go and trying some of these techniques yourself and remember the key is persistence and perseverance. The good news is that children are likely to get less fussy as they get older. One day your child will probably eat and enjoy a whole range of different foods. So even though it’s tedious and the floor might see more action than your child, it will pay off in the end. Good luck!

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James Cole

James Cole is the Group Editor for Sailfin Magazines and oversees our titles and content creation. He's literally the person who dots our 'i's and crosses our 't's across our Home and Garden Magazine section, our Family and Parenting Magazine, our Life & Wellbeing Magazine, Our Travel and Tourism Magazine, and our Business and Work sections.