Top tips from Experts

If your child is going through a fussy eating phase, it can be a real challenge to ensure they’re eating a healthy, balanced diet. We’ve team up with experts in the fields of nutrition and child psychology to share their tips and advice on how to deal with this challenging phase of your child’s development.  Our blogs and infographics, created by experts and ourselves, will provide you with some great advice to help you get your child back on track.

You can find video top tips from Dr Netali Levi and Susie Boone here

 

12 week 'Back on Track' eating plan, PaediaSure Shake Team

While your child is going through a fussy eating phase it can be a tiring process for your entire family, so teaching your child the importance of eating well can help – but it is a gradual process.

To help support you and your child on this journey, a practical 12-week ‘Back on Track’ eating plan has been designed by experts in the fields of nutrition and child psychology, so that you and your child can enjoy healthy foods and healthy eating habits together.

The 12-week ‘Back on Track’ eating plan can be used, with, or without PaediaSure Shake. If you do want to use PaediaSure Shake whilst you give the 12-week ‘Back-on-Track’ eating plan a try, then you may want to give your child PaediaSure Shake at set snack times.

Here at fussyeaters.co.uk we love hearing your stories, so please let us know how you get on with the 12-week ‘Back-on-Track’ eating plan in the designated testimonials section.

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Six sure steps to raise a child who eats well, PaediaSure Shake Team

Even though fussy eating is a phase, it can make daily life challenging for the whole family, with mealtimes feeling more like a battle ground! But helping children learn to eat well is important to ensure that they are getting the right balance of nutrients to grow and develop.

To support you and your child on this journey, ‘Six Sure Steps to Raise a Child Who Eats Well’ has been designed by a registered dietitian to help children learn to enjoy healthy foods and develop healthy eating habits.

 
 

A second chance to get it right, Philip Graves

By Philip Graves, Consumer Behaviour Specialist

The fussy eating experiment we created gave us some fascinating insights into the way children think about food and reinforced some things that we already know about how people think. 

For example, if I ask you to think of a number, you will probably think of a number between one and ten (and you’re most likely to say seven).  However, if I ask you to write down your age first and then ask you to think of a number you are much more likely to write down a two or three-digit number because I have influenced you to have a bigger number in your mind at the outset (not that I’m suggesting you’re old; but you’re probably over nine).  This phenomenon is known as priming.

One consequence of priming is that our first experience of a food can form a memory that becomes the first thought we have when we see it.  In the video, we hear Ava-May tell us (about Brussels sprouts, I think), “The first time that I tried them, I didn’t like them.”  Stronger emotions create more powerful memories and Ava-May clearly remembers not liking sprouts.

Priming works hand in hand with something psychologists call confirmation bias.  Once we have an initial idea of how something is, we pay much more attention to anything that reinforces our belief and much less to anything that doesn’t.

So what can you do with foods that you would like your child to eat but that they have already decided they don’t like? 

  1. Carry on eating the food yourself, but don’t put it on your child’s plate.  And don’t make it a big deal that you’re eating it either; doing so will only reinforce the negative thought your child has when he tells himself “Sprouts! Urghh!” each time you mention them.  Instead, allow the food concerned to become familiar over time. 
  2. Consider what alternatives might be just as good nutritionally and take steps to introduce them in as favourable a way as possible (see below). 
  3. Be reassured that your child’s experience of taste will develop over time; giving it time is not the same as giving up.

 When you introduce a new food – or reintroduce one that you’ve not tried with your child for a long time – you can do things to improve your chances of success: 

  1. Make the first experience as positive as possible.  That doesn’t just mean preparing the food nicely, it means presenting it in an attractive way and ensuring that the prevailing mood is positive and happy. 
  2. Ensure you only put a small amount of the new food on their plate and if they don’t like it, take what’s left off their plate so they can continue to eat the other food: if you think a food is ‘disgusting’ having it hang around with your other food and stare at you from the plate can be deeply unpleasant.
  3. Don’t make not liking the food a big issue.  Doing so means that your child is much more likely to form a strong memory that is harder to overcome in the future.

As ever, if you have any concerns about your child’s health, or are worried that they aren’t getting the nutrition they need, contact your GP.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Abbott.

 
 

Top tips from introducing new flavours to fussy eaters, PaediaSure Shake Team

These techniques may take a while, but hopefully you’ll find mealtimes become a happier time for you and your child. Try them out, but be patient:

1. Small is the way forward. Give your child something little to try, like a single pea, a slice of cheese or a tiny piece of spaghetti. Then try increasing the amount very slightly each day, until they’re eating the correct size portion for their age

2. Keep it low key. When you give your child something new to eat, be casual about it, as if it’s nothing important. If they don’t try it, keep your cool and don’t react. Children pick up on our moods, and will quickly associate that particular food with negative emotions. As the poster says: ‘Keep calm and carry on’

3. Slow wins the race. Take your time, there’s no rush. Don’t bombard your child with lots of new flavours at once. Slowly introduce them over time and add the occasional new food to a meal they like – don’t try and hide it though

4. Keep a chart. Kids love filling in charts and putting stickers on things. Every time they try a new food, reward them by giving them a new sticker or letting them colour in a new vegetable on their ‘taste chart’. You can even record their progress by taking a photograph or video. This is especially handy if they’ve gone off a food and you need to remind them that they like it

5. Learning from others. Children have a tendency to copy their friends. If your child has a friend who’s more of an adventurous eater, invite them round for tea. Your child will be more likely to try a new food if they see their friend eating it. Alternatively, sit and eat your own meal when your child eats theirs – you may find they’ll want to try some of the food on your plate.

Got any tips of your own? We’d love to hear them – please email us at: fussyeaters@abbott.com

 
 

Dispelling fussy eating myths, PaediaSure Shake Team

As a parent of a fussy eater you probably hear lots of things on the subject. Everybody’s got a suggestion or view – but is there any truth in some of the most common myths?

If your kid rejects food, don’t try it again. Research has shown you may have to offer a new food between 10-20 times before your child accepts it. So keep persevering, maybe try it in a different recipe or serving it alongside something they do like. Remember, persistence is key and fussy eating is a phase that many children will grow out of, be patient.

They’re just being difficult. Pickiness doesn’t necessarily mean your child is trying to assert control. Rather than battling with your child, let them learn to like a variety of foods at their own pace and give them lots of support and encouragement.

Children always have to eat at mealtimes. It’s normal for children to eat very little at some mealtimes (or not at all), then tuck into loads of food at others. Try not to worry about what your child eats in a day, it’s more important to think about what they eat over a week. In other words, don’t suddenly panic if they don’t even swallow a pea at one meal.

It’s a good idea to hide foods. Although children might be charmingly naïve, they’re not daft. When they inevitably discover you’ve carefully hidden new foods, they’ll stop trusting you, which could make mealtimes more problematic. Plus, trying to hide certain foods among those they like could affect the taste of the foods they enjoy, putting them off their favourites too.

Don’t let them play with their food. Children should be encouraged to use their entire sensory system to experience food – it’s how they learn about taste, temperature and texture. Don’t be too quick to wipe sticky fingers and messy chins. 

Have you heard any other fussy eater myths? Or maybe you’ve got questions of your own you’d like answering? Simply email us at: fussyeaters@abbott.com

 
 

The benefits of creating a routine for your fussy eater, PaediaSure Shake Team

Children love routines. They give them a sense of security and control, especially as a child’s fear of the unknown can range from a suspicious new vegetable to moving house.

But routine doesn’t necessarily mean boring, for example, Friday DVD night and Saturday morning at the park. Plus, focusing on time together can help strengthen relationships too.

Developing these everyday routines is also another great way to help you get your fussy eater back on track:

Create a routine for other daily activities – including things like naps, baths and playtime – this will help mealtimes fall into place more naturally.

Schedule regular meal and snack times – even if other daily activities don’t happen as planned, do what you can to keep meal times on schedule. This will help your child develop healthy eating routines and recognise the patterns of hunger and fullness.

Eat at the table with the rest of the family – this gives your child a sense of community and they’ll start to think of meal times as a social part of the day.

The 12-week ‘Back On Track’ Eating Plan. Although not a daily routine, this plan, designed by experts in the fields of nutrition and child psychology, will give you a long-term structured guide to support you and your child on your journey to enjoying healthy foods and developing healthy eating habits together. It can be used with or without PaediaSure Shake and will hopefully result in your child eating healthier – and stress-free family mealtimes. 

The ‘Back On Track’ Eating Plan

 

 
 

How to win at meal times, Philip Graves

By Philip Graves, Consumer Behaviour Specialist

Picture the scene.  It’s cold outside, the fire is the only light illuminating the room, the opening credits of your favourite movie are playing.  George Clooney has dropped round from next door to watch it with you.  As chance would have it there is only one rug to share. Feel free to insert the movie star of your choice and gender preference in the scene for maximum effect.

The phone rings.  You can see from the caller ID that it’s the claims management company that’s already called four times this week to ask you if you’d like to claim for a PPI policy you never had.  How much do you want to get up and take the call?  I’m guessing wild horses wouldn’t move you.

And yet, this is more or less what kids experience at meal times in many homes.  Substitute George Clooney for Minecraft and the phone call for a shout from the kitchen that “dinner’s ready” and the feelings involved are roughly equal.

With each passing year the quantity, quality and availability of stimulating entertainment for children increases.  In the 1970s my brother and I played Subbuteo football: a game that involved flicking tiny plastic models of footballers at a disproportionately large football, with the aim of propelling that ball beyond a plastic goalkeeper on a stick into something resembling a goal.  Now a child can play EA FIFA 2016 and hear a crowd roar, make Ronaldo dribble past opponents and put a proportionately sized ball past someone who looks and moves like Joe Hart.  It’s epic!

Add in the access many kids have to snacks that can be consumed without having to forgo more than a few seconds of playtime and it’s no surprise that a ‘proper meal’ holds about as much appeal as washing up, doing homework or taking that PPI phone call.

So how can you give meal times a fighting chance in the age of instant thrills?  Here are five ideas to get you started:

1. Think about what you’re asking your child to stop when you’re asking them to eat instead; pick your moment!

2. Encourage them to do something that you know isn’t quite as exciting as their favourite game or TV show immediately before you want them to eat. Experiment with different pre-meal activities and see which they’re happiest to put to one side for their meal.

3. Make meal times more exciting: have a competition to guess what’s on their plate when it’s covered with a bowl; have a joke of the day; tell them the funniest or silliest thing that happened to you; let them pull a party popper when they’ve had their first bite; encourage them to talk about something you know gets them excited; make announcements of things you know will delight them at meal times.

4. Eat together: children learn so much from what they see other people do.  It’s hard to justify why they should be sitting down and eating whilst you’re busy bustling around doing other things: don’t expect them to understand that tidying up the kitchen isn’t your equivalent of them watching their favourite My Little Pony DVD.

5. If the above points simply aren’t practical or don’t work, then be prepared to be flexible over when the meal is eatenRarely, if ever, will turning meal times into a battle bring about the outcome you want.

Of course, if you are ever concerned that your child isn’t eating well enough to stay healthy, speak to your GP. 

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Abbott.

 
 

The reality of fussy eating in the UK, PaediaSure Shake Team

The reality of fussy eating in the UK, PaediaSure Shake Team

The results of a survey commissioned by PaediaSure Shake showed parents of fussy eaters want better advice, support and guidance to help them and their child get through this difficult phase.

This infographic is designed to give you an overview of what parents who’ve seen it all before had to say, as well as some top tips to help tackle fussy eating.  

 
 

Get your fussy eater involved in making meal times happier, PaediaSure Shake Team

Fussy eating is more common than you might think. Although, this is little consolation to you when all you see is your child eating the occasional pea. The good news is that this is usually just a phase and your child should grow out of it. Meanwhile, get your fussy eater involved at different food stages, from buying it to trying different textures, and you should start to see an improvement at meal times. 

  • Take your child food shopping with you. As you’re walking around, chat to them about different types of foods, where they come from etc. You can make it more fun by getting them to choose an item for themselves, so long as it’s something they’ve never tried before.  If you’re feeling brave, you could even get your child to pick a new food for you to try. Another tip for making it more interesting is to give your child some money to buy a new food, which also helps them practice number skills in a practical way.  

  • Get your child to help with the cooking. They don’t have to prepare a three-course meal with you, but just getting them to do simple things like stirring the pot, adding in some ingredients or peeling some potatoes will help them feel like they’ve contributed to the meal. There are very few children who will cook something and then refuse to try it later. Plus, it allows you to spend more quality time with your child, while teaching them some basic cookery skills. Just so long as you can cope with the occasional spillage!

  • Texture tasting sessions with your child. Texture is hugely important with food. The flavour might be exactly the same, but the texture can be the difference between urgh… and mmm…. Take carrots for example, you can serve them in so many ways: steamed, shredded, raw, pickled, mashed and so on. Get your child to buy a food with you, then prepare it with you in different ways, before seeing which texture they prefer the most. You might be pleasantly surprised that they now like a food they used to hate, simply because it’s served differently.
  • Stay positive. Start getting your child involved with food as much as possible, as soon as possible. Things aren’t going to change overnight, but remain positive and remember you’re not alone and this phase will pass. Good luck.

 Netali Levi 

Dr Netali Levi, Clinical Psychologist. 

"It can feel really demoralizing and frustrating when your child yet again doesn’t eat the meal you’ve made for them. Remember though that all of the tiny bites and small steps creating new positive associations with food add up over time. Gradually your child can learn to feel more relaxed about different foods. You may notice them one day happily munching away on a food which they had previously always refused!"

 
 

Enjoy eating out with your fussy eater, PaediaSure Shake Team

This guide will give you more confidence to take your fussy eater out to a restaurant. Even if the thought of it fills you with dread, it’s important for your child to learn how to act in different situations, as it will improve their confidence and develop their social skills.

Hopefully these handy tips will help:

  • Make sure children are welcome. It’s a bit obvious, but always check when you book. Maybe consider an overly child-friendly restaurant for your first time too, not a fancy, fine-dining establishment.
  • Eat early. An overtired or over-hungry child is no fun for anyone. Aim for around 5.00/5.30pm, not only are there early bird deals available, it also keeps your evening routine on track.
  • Pack distractions. Just in case boredom kicks in, pack a few toys, books, crayons or anything that will keep them quiet. Keep it in the car and you’ll always be prepared.
  • Let your child choose. Maybe don’t give them total control of the menu, but you could offer them a choice of two or three dishes. It’s a good way to tap into their desire for control, while still encouraging them to try new foods.
  • Order a platter to share. This is a great opportunity for your child to taste new dishes and experience new flavours. Plus, if everybody else is tucking in and enjoying the food, they’re more likely to do the same.
  • Make the restaurant aware of any allergies. If your child has a food allergy, always mention it when ordering. Even if you’ve been there before, and they’re eating the same dish, ingredients can change.

  Your quick guide for eating out with a fussy eater:

  1. Ensure children are welcome at the restaurant.
  2. Eat early before your child gets too tired and hungry.
  3. Pack distractions like toys and books.
  4. Give your child a choice of dishes, so they feel like they have some control.
  5. Order a platter to share – it’s a great way to get them to try new flavours.
  6. Make the restaurant aware of any food allergies before you order.

Tell us your success stories or tips.

If you had a great meal out with your fussy eater we’d love to hear about it – and so would other parents. Please email us at: fussyeaters@abbott.com  

 
 

What to do when your child worries about fussy eating, Dr Netali Levi

By Dr Netali Levi, Clinical Psychologist

Children can worry about eating for all sorts of reasons, including their stage of development, stressful associations with eating or medical/developmental issues.

Signs that your child may be feeling anxious about eating include facial expressions and body language of fear or disgust around food, trying to avoid eating and often seeming ‘on guard’ around food. Some children may only appear worried about particular foods or new foods. Try doing some detective work to find out whether your child is concerned about eating generally, or has some worries about specific foods or particular tastes, textures or smells.

The parental instinct to ensure that your child grows and thrives is a fundamental one and it can be extremely stressful when your child is reluctant to eat. However, pressure to eat is usually unsuccessful and tends to result in increased stress at mealtimes for the whole family. Though it can feel worrying to do so, reducing the focus on eating can start to change your child’s stressful associations with food.

 May Blog Noteating

Here’s what to do: 

  • Try to have fun conversations at mealtimes which aren’t about eating
  • Give positive attention to other aspects of mealtimes, such as your child staying seated or talking about what they have been doing at school that day
  • Modelling a healthy, relaxed relationship with food yourself teaches your child that it’s safe and enjoyable to eat lots of different types of foods
  • Don’t forget that modelling from brothers and sisters, friends, cartoon characters or people on TV can also be very influential
  • Keep mealtimes short to reduce stress and help your child stick to an eating schedule so they’re hungry at mealtimes

If you want to increase the range of foods your child will eat, it can be a good idea to initially give them some of their preferred foods, whilst gently encouraging them to try other foods.

Helpful ways to do this include: 

  • Allowing your child  to play with food as an activity
  • Giving foods a lick or a bite, or even just tolerating the food on their plate without eating it
  • Trying new foods away from mealtimes in small amounts. Remember your child may need to try a food 10-20 times before beginning to like it (though some foods may always be disliked)
  • Involving your child in choosing which food to try and allowing them to become used to the smell and taste of the new food
  • Some children like to design a Food Ladder where they decide on foods they’d like to try in order of difficulty and gradually work their way up the ‘ladder’
  • Praising and rewarding them for every small step they make if it seems motivating for them
  • And noticing the positive changes you’ve made which have helped them

It’s important to seek specialist advice if your child is losing weight or you are concerned about their health, response to eating or restriction of their diet.

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The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Abbott.

 
 

Kids' real views on food, Philip Graves

By Philip Graves, Consumer Behaviour Specialist

The fussy eating experiment we created gave us some fascinating insights into the way children think about food.  We didn’t expect the kids to give us solutions but what they told us was quite revealing.

Take Leo, for example.  In this clip (1’19’’ to 1’27’’) he explains that “Everything on here”, he says, referring to the plate of vegetables he’s been presented with for lunch, “except for the green beans, I don’t like.  They’re healthy for you, but sweets aren’t.  Sweets taste nice, but they’re not healthy for you.”

It seems that Leo, six years old, already has some powerful associations with certain types of food.  This reflects the way that our minds work when they store and access information.  Rather than have everything neatly filed away as facts, we create associations between things.  This is incredibly effective because it means that when we encounter something totally new, we can react to it based on what it’s like.  If we see a green eyed giant that’s breathing fire, we can quickly react and run away without having to Google the description and read its Wikipedia entry to know it’s dangerous.

It’s easy to imagine how Leo has formed an association that healthy food tastes bad: when he has been given a food he hasn’t wanted to eat, he’s been told the reason he should eat it is because it is healthy.  Whilst this is undoubtedly true, it’s a complex message to interpret, and, when it doesn’t persuade, can back-fire.

Of course, these healthy foods share other characteristics: they’re often boiled; they tend to be green; and they aren’t high in sugar, salt or fat – three ingredients that our brains react to with significant pleasure.  So even a new one can soon be categorised and added to the fusspot-list.

So, if your child has this association, how can you overcome it? 

1. Recognise that you might have contributed to the problem. 

This is great news because it means you can change what you do and have a reasonable prospect of changing what your child does.

2. Stop reinforcing the association: don’t categorise foods on their health content. 

When your child points at the new vegetable and says, “What’s that?” resist the urge to tarnish it with its connection to other foods that don’t go down well at the moment.  Instead, treat nutritious foods as just other tastes to try.

3. Encourage and reward the trying rather than ‘eating it all’. 

Tasting a small piece of something is much less daunting than being confronted with half a plate of whatever it is.  Even once a food has been rejected it can be tried again in the future, cooked differently, on a different plate, raw, mixed with something else… rewarding trying buys you a second chance ticket.

4. Consider an agreed ‘No thank you’ list.

When your child has tried something and not liked it they can add it to their list, but they can only have five things on it.  Sure broccoli might not be their favourite food in the world, but it’s not cabbage so it won’t make the list. 

Finally, remember that there is little to be gained by sharing your perfectly understandable stress from your child’s fussy eating with the child himself.  Creating an association between meal times and stress is unlikely to help make things better.  Of course, if you are concerned about your child’s health speak to your GP.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Abbott.

 
 

All I want for Christmas ... is a fuss-free meal, Netali Levi

By Dr Netali Levi, Clinical Psychologist

As Christmas approaches, no doubt you’ll be looking forward to decorating the tree, visiting Santa’s grotto and tucking into delicious festive food. But if your child is going through a fussy eating phase, the holiday period may bring some mealtime challenges.

The emphasis on food at Christmas can exacerbate fussy eating behaviour, as mealtimes are naturally more of an occasion. As a result, festive mealtimes with family and friends can feel more difficult than usual if your child refuses their food. This can increase the worry and frustration you may feel about their fussy eating, especially if you are concerned that they aren’t getting the nutrients they need.

It's important to remember that for many children, fussy eating is just a phase, and there are many tips and tricks you can try to help make mealtimes enjoyable at this special time.

Here are my simple steps for a fuss-free festive feast:

1. Cook together

Get your children involved in cooking festive recipes. The Christmas school holidays are a great opportunity for them to be involved in being around food in a relaxed way. Put some festive tunes on while you cook and have fun together!

2. Focus on fun

Parties and celebrations may encourage your child to try some new foods, particularly if they see other children eating them. Give some low key praise for trying even one bite of a new food. Keep the focus on your child having fun at the party, rather than on food.

3. Stay realistic

Everyone has hopes and expectations of family festive meals. Be aware of any which may lead to upset if your child just picks at their food. For example, it’s natural to imagine the whole family all enjoying eating Christmas dinner together. Try to set realistic, accepting expectations to avoid feeling disappointed or stressed on the day and instead focus on making these occasions fun for the family.

4. Accept changes in routine

Be aware that as routines and boundaries change during the holidays, your child’s behaviour, including eating, may be trickier to manage. Try to stick to your regular boundaries or if this is not possible, accept that holidays are different. Feel confident that you will all get back on track once the holidays are over.

5. Remember to relax

Consider using the festive period to give yourself a holiday from the stress and pressure which fussy eating can cause for parents. As long as there are no health concerns for your child, not focusing at all on your child’s eating for a little while may feel a relief for the whole family.

Dr Levi is an independent adviser to Abbott.

 

 
 

Fussy eating unpicked

By Helen Bond, State Registered Dietitian and consultant dietitian to PaediaSure Shake

Website – www.helenbond.co.uk Twitter - @helenbond1

We all have a picture-perfect vision of mealtimes with the family, but if you have a fussy eater in the house, mealtimes can become a bit of a battleground.

You're not alone

If you sometimes find yourself getting a bit exasperated by your child’s eating behaviours, then hopefully it’s reassuring to know that you are most definitely not alone. A new survey by Abbott asked 1,000 parents of ‘fussy eaters’* aged 2-6 years, to reveal what’s really going on at dinner tables up and down the country.

Unsurprisingly, 68% of parents said that their child(ren)’s fussy eating habits makes them feel ‘frustrated’ and nearly a half (45%) of respondents said it makes them feel ‘stressed’.

As a dietitian, the fact that almost two thirds worry that their child’s not getting sufficient nutrients for proper growth definitely resonates with me - having 3 children of my own, it is something that I have struggled with myself. I had it easy with my first daughter Hannah who would happily gobble down whatever meal was put in front of her. But with baby Bond no. 2 - it was a different story. Eleanor started out eating well, but at the age of two, she began to develop fussy eating habits –refusing to try new foods and saying ‘yuck’ at foods she used to happily eat!

I was worried that I would be judged as a mother, and also professionally. It drove me up the wall – until I calmed down, reminded myself that, fortunately, it’s a phase most children go through, revisited my dietetic notes on ‘Tackling Picky Eaters’ and set to getting my child's diet back on track.

Fuss-free mealtimes

Like most of us, I want my children to grow up thinking of the dinner table as a happy place. If, like the majority of parents surveyed (59%), you feel that most advice is too preachy or impractical (41%), it’s worth applying my simple tips below to help make family dinners a happier, ‘together’ occasion once again…

  • Stay positive. In most cases, fussy eating is just a phase. While it can be a challenging time, try to keep calm as a positive attitude can help make mealtimes a better experience for both you and your family.
  • Keep at it! Getting your child to try new foods can take time, and it’s not surprising that one in four parents give up trying to get their fussy eaters to eat healthily. Remember, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. As I found with Eleanor, persistence pays off in the end!
  • Change the ‘dinner table’ scene - a picnic in the garden or at a local park (or even indoors if the weather isn’t great) – the mood will be lighter, more laid back and a positive experience for everyone.
  • Keep portions small and let your child decide the amount they want to eat. This way, you take all the focus and attention away from what your child is or isn't eating. They can always have seconds, if they eat it up!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Never be embarrassed to ask for help and advice from your GP, health visitor or a dietitian if you are really struggling with your child’s refusal to eat and mealtime meltdowns, and/or are worried about your child’s nutritional wellbeing. They are the experts and can offer you tailored advice to help sort things out!

 Here’s wishing you lots of fuss-free, happier and healthier family meals for the future!

 More information about the parent survey can be found in the Reality Check report.

 * Throughout the survey, being a ‘fussy eater’ was described as a child ‘refusing to eat foods, a lack of interest in food, eating particularly slowly, and/or reduced appetite’.

 The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Abbott

 
 

Enjoy the great outdoors: Kid-friendly summer eating ideas, Helen Bond

Summer is just around the corner which means it’s time to embrace the warmer weather and get outdoors! Why not head out into the garden or extend your hours in the park by packing a tasty picnic for some special family time in the sun?

Enjoying a meal outside can be great fun, however thinking up new ‘on-the-go’ dishes to keep the little ones happy can be tricky, especially if you have a child going through a fussy eating phase. Do you worry that picnics mean packing unhealthy ‘convenience’ foods? Preparing simple, nutritious snacks that your fussy eater might enjoy doesn’t need to be time consuming and getting your children to help you out can be an enjoyable activity for all.

Helen Bond, Consultant Dietitian, provides her top five healthy picnic tips:

  1. Cutting raw vegetables into small child-friendly sticks can help them seem less daunting to a fussy palate. Serve them with something your child likes eating such as breadsticks or slices of wholemeal pitta bread and dips to encourage them to try a selection of foods from the plate
  2. Asking your children to help with food preparation is a great way to build their interest in new foods, textures and flavours. Pick up some wooden skewers and let your kids make their own food on sticks with a selection of bite-sized meats, cheese and vegetables for a balanced snack with plenty of variety
  3. If you struggle to get your child to eat fruit, try blending fruit with natural yogurt and freeze the mixture in ice lolly moulds overnight. Pack them in a freezer box before you go and enjoy a fun fruit smoothie lolly that tastes like a real treat
  4. If you fancy something more substantial but don’t have time to pull together a meal on the day of your trip, try cooking a little extra dinner the night before such as pasta which will taste just as delicious served cold in a salad the following day
  5. Include nutritious snacks such as dried fruit and nuts. Not only are they tasty and easy to pack, but you can combine your leftovers with any unwanted bread crusts and have fun feeding the ducks, birds or squirrels after your meal!

Taking meals outside is a great way to add a bit of excitement to your family mealtime routine. Get your children to help pack the hamper with picnic essentials such as paper plates, cups and napkins to get them involved before the meal begins.

 
 

Food taste ladder, PaediaSure Shake

Food taste ladder, PaediaSure Shake

If you want to increase the range of foods your child will eat, it can be a good idea to initially give them some of their preferred foods, whilst gently encouraging them to try other foods. Some children like to design a ‘Food Ladder’ where they decide on foods they’d like to try in order of difficulty and gradually work their way up the ‘ladder’.

 
 

Vegetables top tips infographic, PaediaSure Shake Team

Vegetables top tips infographic, PaediaSure Shake Team

Getting your fussy eater to try new foods can be challenging - especially when it comes to vegetables. Hopefully this selection of really handy hints will soon make mealtimes more enjoyable for you – and your little treasure.

 

References

  1. Data on file. Abbott Laboratories Ltd., 2013 (PaediaSure EU DTC study).