Saving Your Sanity
You might feel like you want to tear your hair out when your child goes through stages of fussy eating. It certainly is a stressful time. But keeping your cool is the best way to get through it and you may even find the fussy eating phase goes away much sooner. Easier said than done? Here are our 6 top tips to help save your sanity when you have a fussy eater.
1. Don’t take it personally.
It is important to remember just because they may have rejected your food and hard work in the kitchen it does not mean they have rejected your love. You will still be the apple of their eye!
2. They will grow out of it.
Were you a fussy eater, or were your brothers or sisters? Are they fussy now? Probably not. So take comfort in knowing that besides the odd few, fussy toddlers will grow up to be quite the happy eater and will enjoy a wide variety of foods. Who knows they may even be the next masterchef or more appropriately, perhaps a career as a food critic? The best thing you can do is to continue to offer a wide variety of nutritious foods (try the tasting plate) and lead by example.
3. Make mealtimes relaxed.
Toddlers will pick up on your anxiety at mealtimes making the problem worse. So sometimes try to focus only on making the mealtime environment relaxed regardless of what, how much or how little they eat. This can help take the pressure off all involved, you will have achieved something and you may even be surprised at what they decide to eat on these occasions.
4. It’s often just a (normal) phase.
If your happy little eater suddenly changes their mind and decides they are going to be fussy with food or eat less than usual it may because of a physical reason not a psychological one. Are they teething, are they sick or have they just finished a growth sport? So before you stress and start offering other less nutritious foods to “get them to eat” address the underlying issue while still offering them healthy, nutritious meals and snacks.
5. Write it all down.
Think about what food they HAVE actually eaten over the past week. Simply by writing it all down you may find they have enjoyed quite a variety of foods and even a few vegetables! You may also pick up on a possible trigger for why they are fussy. E.g. a late afternoon cracker or biscuit, the timing of a meal is too soon after the last meal or perhaps too close to sleep time.
6. Take some time out.
If it is all getting too much and you have the support available, ask your partner, a relative or friend to come over during a meal time and let them feed your bub while you enjoy some time out on your own and enjoy some well-deserved “me” time. If you need some inspiration here are some of our favourite “me time” activities:
- Do some exercise, a nice walk around the block or take a yoga or pilates class.
- Go shopping.
- Sit down and enjoy a cup of tea and read a book in peace during nap time.
- Treat yourself to a well-deserved massage or mani/pedi.
- Watch an episode of your favourite tv show.
- Bake a cake – and eat it too. Did you know baking is the new yoga?
Other articles to help with fussy eating:
- Raising a good eater – 10 top tips.
- 10 tips to help food refusal
- Fussy eating & the mealtime ritual
- Fussy eating & how it starts
- The tasting plate
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