Getting Kids to have the right nutrients can be stressful for everyone involved and both our toddlers have gone through phases of fussiness since they started solids. Here are our top tips for fussy eaters:
1. Listen to cues from your baby or toddler. Babies thrive on a bit of a routine, but at the same time
it is really important to listen to them and find out when they are hungry and offer the evening meal at
a realistic time. Bubs are usually hungry around 4.30 or 5pm. Offer the main evening meal then. It is more
likely to be eaten at this time rather than 6pm or later when they’re getting tired and cranky.
2. A toddler may need a little bit of down time before main meals so they can “come down” from
playtime and transition to eating time. A table setting and hand washing routine may help with this
(at the daycare our boys go to, they do a few ‘yoga’ stretches before lunch). Often you are likely to get a
negative response if we pull them away from doing something fun, just like us adults get frustrated
when we’re pulled away from the middle of an episode of Suits.
3. Try not to get too hung up on the time of day your child eats or how much they eat at each sitting,
listen to them and get to know their hunger cues. Do they get whingy, cranky, hangry or manic when they
are hungry? If they have a bigger morning tea than breakfast, roll with it.
4. Don’t worry if you child decides on breakfast for dinner sometimes. If they occasionally want fruit
and cereal for dinner and meat and vegetables for breakfast, it doesn’t matter as long as both meals
are nutrient dense and it’s doable of course.
5. Don’t expect your child to eat well or very much if they are overtired or are a little under the weather.
6. Kids won’t starve. Their tummies are roughly just the size of their fist so serve just small portions
initially and then top it up with more later if they want more. Smaller meals are less overwhelming to
7. Kids are rapidly growing little tigers and have super fast metabolisms, they don’t need much to feel full
so never fuss or insist they eat more when they say they are full.
8. All snacks should be nutrient dense. Try not to offer “empty calories” to them in between meals, try
to offer something which is protein-rich. Hummus, boiled eggs, cheese, coconut yoghurts, bliss balls, or
homemade muesli bars are great snack options.
9. Stop all snacks and drinks at least one hour before mealtime (especially dinner). A hungry kid, and
even the most picky kids are more likely to eat their meals.
10. Have a safe food at every meal. If you know they love rice or noodles or carrots, try to add one of
their safe foods in small amounts so they don’t feel overwhelmed with ALL new foods at a meal time.
11. Lead by example. Kids are more likely to eat something if they see someone they admire eating
it. If we say we don’t like something, chances are that’s what they’ll say when presented with the
12. Don’t stress. This is the biggest tip. Having a fussy eater or even just a day of fussy eating can make
you want to pull your hair out but as long as you’re serving good, wholefoods, your child will be just fine
even if all they eat is cheese for a day. Always keep in mind that kids go through growth phases
where they will eat like they’re training for a marathon followed by a period of not eating all that much.
This is normal
This article was written by our Naturopath and Nutritionist Shannon Stokes.
Shannon loves to help Mums and bubs get health and on track with the right diet.
To book an appointment with Shannon please click on the booking link on our homepage.