Fussy eating is stressful for the whole family, especially when we aren’t around to see what they are eating at school or have any control over it. School often exacerbates picky eating; not only are children in a new environment but they are also being constantly forced to try new tastes, flavours and smells. As a result, the desire to stick to safe foods that they know they like often ends up being even stronger. Similar to adults at work, children can also end up being overwhelmed from over working, over stimulation and loud noises. Eating only specific foods often allows children to combat the frustrating environment.
1. Don't worry if your child is a picky eater.
It’s normal and expected in many children’s development until the age of eight. However parents should prepare to help their children eat every four or so hours, despite your child making the decision of how much they want to eat at that time. We can’t expect our kids to always tell us when they are hungry but we can always provide them eating opportunities! Think mini meals before and after schools where they can choose how much they want to eat.
2. Food is fuel.
Your child can’t eat a salad every day! It’s okay to pack some foods you know your child will certainly eat at school, even if the option isn’t always the healthiest.
3. Young children do like beige foods.
If your child only eats pasta, potato, bread etc- don’t fret yet. Before ten, children have a preference for high carb and high calorie foods but they should outgrow this.
4. Get them to buddy up at lunch times.
Remind your child that they can ask their friends to eat with friends over lunch and get them excited about it. The idea of eating with someone is the focus rather than the food they are eating.
5. Give them time.
Food can be a scary thought so do not rush any process and don’t allow their fussy eating to affect your mental health.