If you have children flat out refusing to eat vegetables or salads, you are not alone! New research from Mum Central commissioned by IsoWhey Clinical Nutrition found that 95% of Australian parents feel as though they have fussy or very fussy children. 59% of parents also feel their children “will flat out refuse to eat most vegetables and salads” and at the dinner table there is shouting, screaming or vomiting during meal times – quite a traumatic experience!
The survey also revealed that the large majority of Australian parents (90.68%) are feeling stressed, anxious or emotionally drained at mealtimes over concerns about the nutritional adequacy of their children’s diets.
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For little ones that reject a whole group of foods, it can be tricky and the following tips may help overcome fussy eating. We spoke to paediatric dietitian Kate Di Prima and ISoWhey Clinical Nutrition’s dietitian and nutritionist, Belinda Reynolds, to hear their top 5 tips for overcoming fussy eaters.
1. Make it fun.
To create excitement and encourage kids to try things they would otherwise refuse, get creative and let kids play with their food. Try making shapes and pictures on the plate, for example chop up fruit and arrange it in a smiley face or ask them to create a picture with the veggies on their plate. Whilst it may be a little messy, it is a great way to get kids to engage in a positive way with their food.
2. Take some time.
Children often find TV and toys to be much more exciting than the food in front of them and can become distracted during meal times. Try sitting down with your child when you can to give them your full attention while they eat. This is a great way to bond with your little one and encourage them to eat. They find you much more stimulating than any gadget!
3. One step at a time.
Some children are completely fearful of new foods and the irrational fear can stop them from trying something new. There is a six-step process to encourage tasting new food that can easily be taught. Firstly, leave the food on the plate rather than tipping or scraping it off. The next step is picking it up with their hands, then bringing it around the nasal area and kissing it, followed by holding it in their front teeth, then their back teeth. It is a slow and steady encouraging process but an effective way to overcome this fussy habit!
4. Seek support.
Remember you are not alone in your struggle with your little one’s fussy habits! If you are worried, please seek the help of a healthcare practitioner as they can assist you in ensuring your child has everything they need for healthy growth and development.
5. Fill the gaps.
When it comes to fussy eaters, parents can reduce some of the immediate stress and worry that they have about dietary inadequacies by filling these nutritional gaps with a well-balanced food supplement, it’s a great way to ensure little fussy eaters are receiving more of the nutrients they require in a delicious shake.
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