Kids

When Fussy Eating Isn’t About Food

May 31, 2023

Some of the biggest changes I see in kids with fussy eating come from changes that have nothing to do with the food itself.

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Are Your Snacks Making You Hungier?

Typically, when kids start fussy eating, we worry about what food we’re serving them, and how to get them to eat certain foods. And while these things are important, some of the biggest changes I see in kids with fussy eating come from changes that have nothing to do with the food itself.

Environment

Parents and caregivers serve as the primary models for healthy eating and activity patterns. Letting children eat with the family is shown to promote fruit and vegetable intake. So, eat meals as a family where possible to model positive eating behaviour and ensure meal settings are distraction-free (no TV or iPad) so kids can focus on their body cues. We want to aim to keep them in their ‘eating environment’ for 30 minutes (give or take) so use a sand or egg timer to hold that boundary and keep the children engaged.

Seating

We want to always eat at a table with appropriate seating for children to discourage fussy eating. Is your kid always leaving their chair? Sitting on their feet? Or just generally fussing around? Adequate postural support is essential for kids during meal times. Less energy to stabilise themselves = more energy for eating! The Stokke Tripp Trapp is a good option that is adjustable and grows with your child. Optimal seating involves a footrest so our little one’s feet, knees and ankles are all at 90 degrees. Google ‘footrest hacks’ if you don’t have one for your high chair already.

Pressure

Studies show kids develop better eating habits when less pressure is placed on them during meal times. Excessive forcing and bribing can decrease the consumption of healthy foods. Let your children assert their independence and make a choice about what they eat from what’s offered to them. Remember: healthy children will not starve themselves. They are able to self-regulate without significant detrimental effects on growth.

If your concerned about your child’s fussy eating, you can book a one-on-one appointment with me. As a clinical Nutritionist, I help many kids become happy and healthy little eaters.

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Are Your Snacks Making
You Hungrier?

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