As a dietitian, nutritionist and fussy eating specialist, Marie-France Laval has seen it all when it comes to stressful mealtimes around the family table.
“As a mum of three myself, I know first-hand how hard it can be – and how important it is – to instil healthy eating habits in children, and the impact that fussy eating can have on an entire family,” said Marie-France.
“However, even when families feel like they have tried everything, I also know that a positive outcome is always possible. It is often in the preparation; using a variety of cooking methods for example enables you to present the same foods over and over again, but in different ways,” she said.
“Children also need to be involved in the process. It may be by touching, cleaning or helping prepare the food they’re eating, so they can familiarise themselves with different ingredients, flavours and textures. That way, when your family dish is ready there is no surprise, but it’s attractive and yummy.
Prepare yourself not to fuss over what is not eaten. You are in this for the long haul, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel!”
Five tips to avoid the slippery slope into fussy eating and raise confident eaters:
- Don’t take it personally when children refuse food – consider it as part of your child’s development.
- Offer food again and again to improve familiarity, but cook it differently to improve your child’s tasting experience.
- Eat together as a family and share the same foods (most foods can be adapted to babies over nine to 12 months with a good food processor or finger-feeding).
- Avoid commenting on what is eaten, what should be eaten, or what is not eaten!
- Avoid labelling your child as fussy.