In an ideal world, our children would sit politely at the table and eat what was put in front of them. Some children do, but there are many that don’t! 99% of the time, fussy eating is just stage, never the less, parents get immensely stressed out about it. Here are some ways to Health by Stealth!
Strawberry Milk Whizz up some milk (calcium and protein), natural yogurt (calcium, protein and probiotics), frozen berries (vitamins and antioxidants) and honey (sweetness).
Hide the veg
By making your own Tomato Sauce, it is possible to hide mountains of veg and even lentils in it. By blending it before serving, it’s nice and smooth. Grate onions, carrots, add tomato puree to bolster the veg count. You can even slip some lentils in without anyone noticing!
Another tip came from a mum of a very selective eating child with autism: add grated apple to mince to make burgers. I tried this and it’s fab!
Tell them it’s just for the big children/grown ups/they probably wouldn’t like it This works brilliantly when preparing vegetables e.g chopping pepper/carrots/grated cheese. Say “no touching!” in a playful way. This can turn it in to a game where they try to ‘steal’ the food from the chopping board.
Distract with a book It’s not ideal, and in a perfect world our children would sit politely at a table. If you are desperate to shovel some good food in, distraction can work well. Look at a book together, while you spoon feed (I resort to doing this on occasions with my 2 year old).
It’s all in the name for children (and adults!) what you call a dish can affect how they think about it. “Barbeque chickeny rice” will be eaten, but if I called it my it’s real name “Chicken Jambalaya” it would be met with great suspicion and clamped shut mouths.
- Sausage Surprise – I cook the sausages, chop them up and put them in to pasta with
tomato sauce (with hidden veg, see above). They have a treasure hunt to find the sausages.
- Banana Cake – ever so much more appealing to have ‘cake’ than Banana ‘bread’
- Chocolate – Cocoa Bars are made with ground up nuts, raisins, dates and cocoa powder. They are deliciously chocolatey!
Probiotics many children can suffer from ‘tummy trouble’ after taking antibiotics or after a tummy bug. Probiotics can help replace the good bacteria in the gut which are essential for the immunity and digestion. Many probiotics that are in capsule can be broken apart and added to food (not hot food, it destroys the good bacteria!)
Fish oil essential for health and brain function, many children dislike the taste of oily fish so it is advisable to take a supplement. Liquid omega 3s can be added to yogurt or even Ready Brek or porridge.
A final essentil tip for fussy eaters is for parents. Back off, chill out, and, even if it takes an Oscar winning performance, pretend you are not too bothered.
When to be concerned:
If your child has weight loss, is lethargic, irritable or weak, see your GP to rule out underlying problem e.g anaemia or coeliac disease
If issues continue consider seeing a dietitian with experience in children with eating and digestive issues.