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5 tips for fussy eaters

By Mulu Sun, the founder of V&Me

Whether you’ve just started your solids journey or you’re deep in ‘threen-ager’ fussy eating, there are plenty of things you can do to help your little ones get through the ‘fussy’ phase.

Here are my top 5 tips – tried and tested with my own children. Some you may have heard before; others may surprise you.

1. Don’t (always) hide your veggies

Yes, there are some great ‘hidden veggie’ recipes. And I get you! You want your little ones to ‘just have some’ of that veggie and it can be so challenging. But if we always hide vegetables, children will never get a chance to learn what they really look and taste like. So do keep (also?) serving some steamed or boiled broccoli/asparagus with your children’s meals. They may just surprise you one day and take to it.

2. Don’t get stuck with ‘baby food’ for too long

Some people think babies just need to eat some pureed vegetables and that’s it. In fact, after the first few weeks of weaning, I’d encourage you to start introducing a wider variety of balanced meals including pulses, meat, fish, vegetables and different starchy foods. This is a key stage of babies’ development. Before the little ones turn 1, they should also move away from pureed food into bite sized food, as the practice of chewing is crucial for speech development. Also worth noting — there are certain foods unsuitable for babies under 1

3. Limit pouch usage

This is a controversial one. Pouches do have a place in many families’ lives because they can last without refrigeration for so long. However, I’ve had many conversations with parents who want help to “wean the baby off pouches”. Pouches’ sweet taste and soft texture can discourage young children to like fresh vegetables and ‘real food’. Ideally, keep them for emergencies.

4. Don’t use compartmented plates

This is another one you don’t often hear about — and one I’m personally quite frustrated with. Many children don’t like their foods to ‘touch each other’ or be mixed. My personal view is that these plates don’t help. Instead, consider serving ‘mixed food’ from the get-go and in one plate so you don’t need to ‘unteach’ separation later on.

5. Feed your kids what you want them to eat in 5 years

Once you’ve introduced allergens, you can start serving your children family style meals (without added salt or sugar). It’s much easier to shape their preference when they are younger. So, if you want to raise non-fussy children who will go to your favourite restaurants with you, try to adapt recipes so they can get used to and learn to love that variety you love for yourself. Again, don’t give up if they don’t take to it right away — consistent exposure in a low pressure environment is the best way to go about it.

Mulu Sun is the CEO and founder of V&Me, which is on a mission to help parents and children build healthy eating habits and a love for a variety of fresh, real food from the get-go. She shares even more tips on the V&Me blog.

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