In an extract from nutritional health coach Lizzie King’s 10 Steps To Crack Fussy Eaters, here’s five expert ways to turn your child from fussy to foodie…
1. Give kids true and honest information about food
Instead of hiding behind nonsense that kids see through – like “broccoli makes you a superhero”, give them real and true information that they will feel empowered and not patronized by.
2. Keep meals varied and plan in advance
It’s easy to get stuck in a food rut, and rotate the same, safe meals, but this can work against you. Try and make sure you introduce new things once a week at least. This will ensure they are constantly open to new flavours and tastes, and used to the idea of unknown foods. If this is tricky to start with you can let them join in choosing recipes from a book or a website you like, and they can be involved.
3. Make vegetables look irresistible
Instead of hiding anything from children in their food – a technique I find strange as a cook and food lover – I try and make it as irresistible as possible.
If the vegetable in question is the centre-piece and tastes amazing it can change the way they look at it.
A courgette from the oven baked in a little parmesan or polenta, is a crispy, delicious, juicy chip that is always gobbled by most kids who say they don’t like courgettes.
4. Keep giving them the foods they hate
The temptation often is to avoid a hated ingredient and therefore the drama, however, it can so often be nipped in the bud by exactly the opposite approach.
By keeping that very ingredient in the mix but by cooking it differently every time, you may just find that they come round.
5. Curb the snacking
If children are permanently being topped up with endless snacks and are never truly hungry, your task is always going to be so much harder when it comes to sitting at the table.
So, try and make sure you leave at least an hour or two (depending on their ages) between a snack and the next meal.