Inspiration: 30+ Fussy Eater Tips and Tricks

By : | 1 Comment | On : February 11, 2014 | Category : Fussy Eaters, Tips & Tricks, Tips from Mums, Uncategorized

Do you ever get stuck for ideas when you want to feed your fussy eaters healthy and nutritious food? There’s nothing more frustrating than spending quality time and effort preparing a meal for your child only to have it thrown back at you. When we get stuck for inspiration there’s no one better to ask than the community of One Handed Cooks on our Facebook page << join us today.

Earlier we asked, “Share your number one tip for getting fussy eaters to eat their meat/veggies/…anything!”

Here are our favourite of the fab responses for your own inspiration, and we’ve linked some of our own favourite fussy eater articles that you might like to read.

30+ Fussy Eater Tips and Tricks you might not have tried: 

  • I tell my 4 year old and 2 year old boys that I got the recipes from superhero mums;-) I.e. superman/spidermans mums make red foods, hulks mum likes cooking green foods etc etc. Plus persistence, getting them to help shop for “good” food, talking about healthy foods and eating meals as a family whenever we can – Samadhi 
  • The best proven way of getting our little ones to eat their vegetable is to include them in the whole process… Paddock to Plate theory. Let them choose the veggies at the shop, help them peel, chop, grate them, ask them how does it smell, feel, taste. Avoid closed questions, use open ones like “what does the colour green taste like?”. ” is it smooth or crunchy?”. Let the kids grow their own veggies. You don’t need an acre just a small pot. Most of all let them stand up on a chair and join in on the cooking process. Book them into a children’s cooking class during the school holidays. I have been teaching 3-6yr olds cooking classes for 4yrs now, have taught over 5000 kids. These tips truly work. The feedback I have received from relieved parents is amazing – Michelle 
  • My husband pretends to try to steal the veges from his plate so my 2 and a half yr old eats them quick before daddy can get them! – Susan 
  • I work with 24 2-3 year olds and we have so many different strategies;
    1. Either getting them to taste or try because it will give them energy for the day and they don’t want to be tired for something special that afternoon (could be painting with special brushes or glitter for example) 
    2.or if there is 3 types of salad or veg having two of three because they are two 
    3. Using our own grown veggies and the children helping to chop them up and use them in a recipe 
    4. Some recipes such as cheesy veggie pasta bake works wonderful for others which involves having all the veggies you can imagine cooked and blended and then put into a creamy cheesy sauce, it’s amazing how much they eat of it! 
    5. Spaghetti bolognese works well with zucchini and carrot
    6. Asking children what there favourite animal is or dinosaur (as they have bigger mouths) and saying can you take some dinosaur bites and they will engulf the food! 
    7. Lots of children that I had last year in the nursery (3 months to 2 years) just needed a lot of persistence and simply some days were more willing to try things…persistence is the key!!! – Lucy 
  • I have an almost 20 month old and would only eat sweet things, and loads of boobie! I went back to basic intro for solids I pureed kale in his rice cereal and roasted sweet pot in cubes and puréed lots of other fruit and veg. Now he eats pretty much anything but it took a few weeks with no sugar and loads of persistence all worth it tho our lil man doesn’t stop eating now haha – Mandi 
  • Persistence – Donna 
  • Grate veges… or blitz them for a saucy meal. Works for feeding stubborn grown men too…  I was informed “I don’t eat mushrooms” *challenge accepted* out came the stick blender! To this day, he has no idea he likes eating mushrooms…- Katie 
  • We have 2 rules at dinner time: you just have to TRY everything…even if it’s just a little lick and you can’t say ‘yuck’ but you can describe the taste or texture. I always make sure to include food i know they like and maybe one food that is a bit unfamiliar – Rachel 
  • Robyn barker writes in her book ‘the mighty toddler’ that toddlers have a big meal every 1-2 days and the rest if the time they graze.. 5-6 small meals a day.. This is defiantly the pattern in our house and it has relieved my stress of the pressure of feeding my 20 month a big meal each meal time..- Julia 
  • Cover carrot or zucchini sticks in a Parmesan Panko crumb and oven bake…. Cheese makes everything taste better. And I find with my fussy eater having a “dip” of whatever sauce is around helps her eat her vege – Samantha
  • My nearly 3 year old will eat ANYTHING in a wrap. Some days he will have a wrap for every meal! – Samara 
  • Hide veges in spagbol sauce – Josie 
  • My 16month old goes through fussy stages with vegies. When he does I cut the vegies in the shape of chips and tell him I have chips. Even though they were steamed. He loves balls so if we are having trouble with him tasting a new food or gets fussy with peas and corn I bounce them like a ball in the air into his mouth he even does it now to himself. Very cute – Alison 
  •  If my 17 month old is a little fussy I grab her favourite stuffed toy and make him “eat it”. She will eat anything he eats lol. – Jaymie 
  • During fussy phases we’ve had success with chicken or veggie pancakes (also emphasising the ‘cake’ part of that word has a big impact on our 2.5 year old boy!) and hiding veggies in chicken or beef mince sausage rolls never fails. Have just started involving our boy in cooking so here’s hoping that helps too – Natalie 
  •  My 2 year old goes through stages where she likes veggies and then she doesn’t so when she doesn’t like them and I’m making lasagnas or spaghetti or something sauce based I hide the veggies in the sauce and she doesn’t notice – Caitlin 
  • Fritters and pizzas are awesome also for hiding or using left over meat n veg – Katie 
  • Banana cake. ..zucchini cake…..beetroot & chocolate cake – Bronwen 
  •  Grate everything with the fine gate on your grater! – Ninah 
  • Sprinkle in grated cheese or dipping in natural yoghurt – Julia 
  • I told my girls carrots help u c in the dark, mushrooms make your hair grow etc. works everytime – Karen 
  • I started growing my own vegetables and let my 3 yr old help water them every day, and he voluntarily ate a tomato picked from the bush…I tried to get him to eat tomatoes for a long time but to no avail til we grew them – Keleigh 
  • My cousin wouldn’t eat any vegetables so when every he was at our house Mum would make a roast and put all his veg in his gravy and whizz it up.. He never noticed his gravy was a different colour and always ate the lot! – Kylie 
  • Slow cooker recipes with Carb based side – couscous, rice, pasta is a no fail meal in our house.. – Julia 
  • I am very lucky to have a son who eats just about anything first go but when he was younger straight chicken and mince meat was (I think) too strong in flavour for him. I learnt a trick from Annabel Karmel and used to add a little grated apple to rissoles and meatballs. He’d happily eat them then – Jolie 
  • Put the food in a serving dish on the table and let them serve everyones, including their own, food (well, the veg/sides anyway) – Roni @ George Loves Toast 
  • Be a good role model! 
    Offer only healthy food choices (platters of salad/veg are great) 
    Kids help prepare! 
    Don’t make a big deal or get anxious about it all. 
    They won’t starve themselves
    Don’t make a fight of it! 
    Children control so little in their lives but what they do and don’t choice to eat is something they can control – Brooke 
  • So many wonderful ideas. One of the hardest challenges for so many caregivers I have been so lucky to connect with. For lots of kiddies though that are super sensitive hiding food can still be ‘detected’ and impacts on their trust of what is being offered. Every child and family is different so what works for some may not be helpful for others. Helping everyone reflect on what they always, sometimes or never like to eat is a helpful key when you can problem solve what sensations (smell, taste, texture, temp, colour/shape, feel) the foods that are loved and never eaten have. That way you can try to match for the sensations that are loved or tolerated sometimes. Important to keep away from never food sensations when stressed or worried and build trust in kids that help them know that you listen and respect their feelings. All depends on the uniqueness of every individual situation. Lots of help in keeping it calm and playful with little ones and a scientific approach for bigg’ns can empower then to ‘discover’ and try – Gillian @ SENSE-ational Mealtimes 
  • I try to remember not to make or ask her to eat it which gives the opportunity for refusal and fussing, instead I sit next to her and genuinely enjoy eating mine, wants to be like Mumma! Means I have to eat two dinners though – Lisa 
  • Cut steamed or raw veggies into shapes (stars etc) using small cookie cutters… – Fiona 
  •  Green smoothies and juices. 19 month olds and they love getting to drink them out of a ‘real’ cup – Katie 
  • Make normal food a normal part of everyday life. What I mean by this is eat together as a family, all eat the same type of food and don’t make a fuss if they refuse to eat a particular food. To avoid this you can simply put all food in the centre of the table and allow folks to choose from what’s on offer – Lunchbox Doctor 

Please note these inspiration ideas and tips are from our readers and do not always reflect our personal and professional views. For more light reading on all things fussy you might like to take a peek at the following One Handed Cooks articles: 

How Fussy Eating Starts 

Raising a Good Eater 

Food Refusal 

Developing a Mealtime Ritual 

Food Jags 

Save Your Sanity 

Help My Toddler is Throwing Food 

Cooking with Kids 

Gardening with Kids 

Small Food Joys 

Kids Getting Messy With Food 

Talking to Your Kids About Nutrition 

The Benefits of Family Mealtimes 

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