I get a lot of questions from parents seeking advice for their kids who are fussy eaters...here is what we do in our family :)
Right from when both my daughters started solids, they were given the same food as what we would eat (especially for dinner). I would stick to the plunket guide for what foods to introduce at what age and then I would take what we were having for dinner and mash it up as well as give them finger foods so they were exposed to both. This provided them with a taste of a range of flavors and textures from a very young age.
Up to about the age of 2, my eldest daughter was not a fussy eater. Once she discovered she had a choice and a voice it became a bit more difficult. We have had to be persistent to get veges into her, here are a few tips that we found helpful.
- serve them the same as what the rest of the family are having, don't get caught in the trap of cooking them separate food
- give them options so they feel like they are in control (do you want carrots or broccoli?)
- eat at the table all together where possible so they can see that everyone is eating the same food
- if they are resisting vegetables, go back to offering very small amounts and encourage them to at least have 1 bite before deciding that they don't like it
- we try avoid hiding vegetables in meals but you may have to use that to get the nutrients into them alongside encouraging them to try different veges
- don't make a big deal if they don't eat it, trying to force them will make them resist even more
- make sure your child is actually hungry at dinner time, usually when my 3 year old really resists is when shes not actually hungry, you could offer them the dinner an hour later
- be positive and encourage them, talk about the bright colors, different textures and how much you enjoyed that particular food as a kid
Its very easy when you are busy to get caught up in the trap of keeping the kids happy or doing what is easiest/less fuss but remember that you are paving the path for the food choices your children will likely make in the future, offer a range of different foods and keep encouraging them to try new things, remember as the adult you know what is best for your child :)