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Fussy Eaters

Children may be picky eaters for a variety of reasons. It could be related to the food, the fork/spoon, the portion size, or it could be your child asserting her independence. Whatever the reason, you should try to gently encourage your child to be open to trying different foods.


Why your child is a fussy eater

One reason that your child is rejecting some foods could be that you are serving a lot of foods that are too much of something....maybe the foods are too greasy, or maybe the texture is too chewy. Try something different. Stepping out of your own comfort zone will also help your child. Other common causes of picky eating are unrelated to the food itself: cutlery size and chair/table size and space may contribute. If a fork or spoon is difficult for a child to grasp, he may seem to be a fussy eater. If the child has trouble reaching the table because his chair is too low or he can't reach the table easily, he may appear to be a picky eater. Try adjusting the environment. Believe it or not, food portions can also make a difference. A large quantity of food may be intimidating to a child. Serve smaller amounts of more types of food to tempt your child.


What not to do

It's all too easy to accidentally encourage bad habits. If your child is a picky eater, be careful that you don't pressure or threaten her to eat. Children are sensitive and also very independent. Don't make a young child finish his plate. This will only end in frustration for everyone, and will not help your child improve his eating habits. You should make an effort to keep the television off while eating, since that can be distracting. Try not to serve the child a meal by herself. Just like adults enjoy company while eating, children do too. Eating can be a social experience, and if your child sees you eating certain foods, he will be more likely to eat them too.


Strategies for fussy eaters

Involving your child in food selection or preparation is the best way to encourage good eating habits. If you let your child choose, be sure to provide a small list of choices and do not let her pick "off-list". You should also approach each meal with a positive attitude. Children pick up on emotions, and if you are relaxed about eating, your child will be too. When your child eats well or tries new foods, praise him. He should feel good about eating and making the right choices. Finally, don't forget that a variety of foods and an appealing presentation can go a long way towards making your fussy eater more open-minded!

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