Meal times can be exhausting when you're the parent of a fussy eater. Does it help to know you're not alone?
Fussy is normal
The first thing to bear in mind is that it's normal for kids to be fussy eaters. When you survey the parents of two-year-olds, nearly half of them would describe their child as fussy. What we call fussiness is often a natural part of a child's growth, the result of a slowing appetite post-infancy and a growing independence of spirit. And in nearly all cases, your picky eater will grow out of it naturally. So be patient. Things will get better.
Different kinds of fussy
It can be frustrating trying to find the right way to tackle fussy eating. There's no magic solution that wins in every situation. Tactics that work a treat with one child can prove useless with another. That's because kids are fussy for very different reasons. A recent study suggests that fussy eaters can be divided into four broad groups:
> The Sensory Dependent will reject a food because of its taste or texture. ("Yuck, Mum, it's slimy!") They aren't trying to be difficult, they just find certain foods physically unpleasant.
> Behavioural Responders react badly when food isn't prepared the way they like it, and can refuse to come to the table without even knowing what's for dinner.
> Preferential Eaters shy away from new, unfamiliar foods, sticking to the tried and tested. They can be wary of mixed foods with complex ingredients.
> The General Perfectionist, the most common kind of fussy eater, has specific idiosyncrasies about the way their food is prepared. For example, different foods aren't allowed to touch each other.
These groupings aren't always clear-cut, but broadly identifying why your kids are fussy can help you decide on the best strategy.
Part of the reason why young kids are fussy eaters is biological. A newborn baby's tastebuds are attuned to the fats and sugars of breast milk, and bitter flavours are rejected as potential poisons. This sweet tooth can persist until puberty, and for some kids, foods such as broccoli remain too bitter throughout childhood.
It can take years before your child appreciates these foods, perhaps longer if they come to associate them with parents nagging. If you’re concerned with you child’s eating habits, consult your GP. In the meantime, we’ve compiled some strategies for fussy eaters, such as experimenting with different cooking times, setting up a calming routine before mealtime, offering smaller portions of unfamiliar foods, or even sneaking some grated veggies into your meals!
A helping hand
A healthy and balanced diet is always the best source of nutrition for your child and multivitamins are a way to complement your child’s dietary intake of various nutrients while supporting their general health and cognitive function.
By giving your child a quality multivitamin formula such as Pentavite Multivitamin + Iron Kids Powder, you can complement your child’s nutritional intake. Pentavite Multivitamin + Iron Kids Powder contains a wide range of nutrients to support a child’s healthy growth and development. The powder form makes it easy to mix into food and drink, and the delicious natural apple and blackcurrant flavour makes it a favourite among fussy eaters.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Vitamins and mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.