10 top tips for parents of fussy eaters + Giveaway

We all hope that our children will happily eat whatever we give them at meals times, however this dream is often far from a reality for many of us parents – myself included.

Both of mine did eat everything I gave to them as babies, one was fed with homemade purees and jars when I was feeling less than enthusiastic, while the other was baby led weaned eating whatever we were having for our meals. Now both are fussy in their own rights – Emmy won’t eat anything with spices or any heat to it preferring plain pasta with grated cheese if she could have her own way but she does happily munch away on plates full of vegetables, and Harry loves sushi, prawns and curries but won’t eat Bolognese, stew and prefers his foods not to be touching on the plate.

Of course it is perfectly normal for children especially babies and toddlers to refuse new foods but try not to worry about their food intake too much, if they are active, gaining weight and doing well then they are generally eating enough.

Gradually introduce new foods and keep going back to those foods your child didn’t previously like as their tastes change over time – I’m sure you can remember not liking curry or a tomato based sauce maybe but if you ate them now you may actually like them, I ALWAYS hated coffee preferring to drink only tea, but since having children I can’t stomach tea and live off coffee many days.

I’ve teamed up with Portmeirion to bring you ten top tips for meal times

10 Top Tips for parents of fussy eaters:


  1. Eat together at meal times
    Eating together as a family, even if that if just one parent if the other is still out at work helps to encourage children to eat more. They won’t feel they are missing out on something which may be more fun and it can be a great time to bond, talk about your day, find out what they’ve done at school and it helps to take the pressure off of focusing on how much they eat. Plus, it means they won’t kept getting up from the table to talk to you as you’ll be there with them.
  2. Eat the same meals together
    Try to give your children the same meals as you are all eating, of course remembering not to add salt to the children’s. If they see you eating something it will encourage them to try it too. If you say broccoli is disgusting they will believe that to be true so try to put just a little on your plate even if you need to eat with something else to disguise the taste. Children follow by example and you are their teacher here.
  3. Smaller portions for children
    Just because you’ve cooked a big dinner doesn’t mean children will eat it all, their stomachs are much smaller than ours and they become fuller quicker.
  4. Get them involved in shopping and meal planning
    Make a list of things they would like to eat and take them to the supermarket to help buy those ingredients. Most children like to help, even if it can be a little frustrating for us parents. Give them a list or draw pictures on paper of the items you need and let them tick them off as you go around the shops together.
  5. Make dinner together
    Take a deep breath, prepare everything in advance and let them help make their own dinner. Mine love nothing more than adding the ingredients for dinner into the pans, adding the liquids and stirring it to help me. I cut the meats and the vegetables when they are younger and they place into the pans. When they get older they help to peel the potatoes, cut the carrots etc – with careful supervision of course.
    One of their favourite things to make is make your own pizzas. I have all the ingredients out on the table ready and they pick their own toppings carefully.
    You can add a variety of foods into bowls, onto plates and they can try them as they go along and is a perfect way to get them tasting new foods as well as having fun in the process.
    Making funny faces or even pretty patterns to their food helps keep them interested, and if you use a small premade pizza base its not only quicker but takes only around 5-7 minutes to cook so by the time they’ve washed their hands and you’ve cleaned the table the food is ready to eat.Children helping to make dinner - 10 top tips for parents of fussy eaters
  6. Don’t force your child to clear their plate
    Your child may have eaten enough, be full up or not hungry at that time. Force feeding them will cause more issues and create an anxiety around food. You could put the food aside and try again later if they’ve not eaten anything.
  7. Have special plates, cutlery just for them
    Do they have a favourite character or even a favourite colour? You can easily find TV characters or book characters in many stores, or they could have their favourite colour instead. Cutlery designed for children is easier to use than adults ones too as their hands are smaller – I’ve even seen some which are shaped like aeroplanes or diggers which look great fun for younger children.Homemade pizza made by the kids
  8. Have friends or grandparents/cousins over for dinner
    Distraction works really well at meal times, if there are new faces around the table they will be chatting away or involved in the interaction more than thinking about what is on their plates. Sharing meals work well at these times and picnic foods – have a selection of foods in the middle of the table and they can help themselves to whatever they want.
  9. Avoid too many snacks
    If your child if full from snacks, even healthy ones such as raisins, yogurts and fruits they won’t eat their main meals. Try to limit snacking to 2 small healthy snacks a day – treats can be for after main meals if you choose.
  10. Avoid leaving meals until they are too hungry or too tired
    You know yourself, if you are too tired you really won’t want to sit and eat a big meal, nor if you go passed being hungry, children are exactly the same but just won’t voice this too you so you have to work it out yourself – just to add to the pressure and stresses of parenthood – we have to be mind readers too!

You can read other Top Tips from a Former nanny posts here. 

Giveaway Time

win a Hungry Caterpillar 3 piece dinner set

Portmeirion very kindly provided us with The Hungry Caterpillar items pictured here for our post, aren’t they beautiful? They are also offering one of you lovely readers the chance to win a 3 piece dinner set of your very own. This set consists of a porcelain plate, bowl and cup featuring the very hungry caterpillar on all 3 items and on the cup you have the caterpillar on one side and a butterfly on the other side. This beautiful set has a RRP of £29.

Others items featured in this post include the Hungry Caterpillar party platter plate and the Children’s baking set

For your chance to win, please enter via the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway will close at midnight on 9th September 2018. and is open to UK entrants only. Good Luck

a Rafflecopter giveaway

63 thoughts on “10 top tips for parents of fussy eaters + Giveaway

  1. I found small nibbly bits much easier for my daughter to manage. So instead oa sandwich, tiny smaller sarnies, or tiny bits of apple etc

  2. I bought some fabulous dinner trays which are sectioned into small squares so that everything can be seperated (not touching) … so instead of feeling like they have to eat everything, they can “Pick & Choose”what they want (they often eat it all if they think its their choice) … Also my daughter doesnt like her beans touching her mash for example, but she will eat them individually! 🙂

  3. My boy charlie 2 is very fussy and I’m terrible at trying to get him to eat I worry he hasn’t had enough so try to hard, I think the best thing is to not try to hard maybe

  4. Get the kids to help you as much as they can! By getting my eldest involved we managed to get her to try more veg and I’m hoping this will work with my youngest too!

  5. Present new food little and often in different ways eg veg can be given as purée/mash, raw, roasted, sliced, batons or mixed with other foods

  6. Let your children make up the menus, come shopping for the ingredients and help making, cooking and serving the meal. If they are involved they will be proud to eat the food they have helped to prepare.

  7. I’m the fussy eater so I’d say ignore it and don’t make a thing about it – it makes me very self-conscious & irritated when people comment on my eating habits! My kids, luckily, are great eaters thanks to nursery!

  8. My great-niece was a fussy eater, but we made meal times into a “family time” so we didn’t make a big deal about the food she wouldn’t eat, but when she was about to put some on her fork we chatted about stuff so she tried it again without really realising if that makes sense. Also try and give them the same food as yourselves, just be aware of the salt content. Most importantly, don’t stress, if you pressurise them into eating the food they don’t like, they might just go the other way and hate it even more.

  9. My top tip is to not make a big thing about it. If they do then they’ll keep being fussy for the attention they get from it.

  10. I like to offer a range of, say, fruit snacks, as in “do you want the apple or the pear?”. That way my granddaughter picks one of them, without really having the option of having neither of them.

  11. i find making pictures , i.e. faces,names etc etc, on the plate is an amaxing trick and works every tea time 🙂 happy mummy x

  12. Make pasta sauce with lots of vegetables and blend it. I use the sauce for pizza toppings and pasta dishes and my son has no idea there are so many vegetables in it.

  13. I try to involve them in the food preparation. It makes it seem more fun then. I also hide veg in the meals!

  14. Hide the vegetables in a stew, grate carrot and mix it in with the mash , use sauces to make veg more appealing such as cauliflower cheese.

  15. Don’t make a fuss, and offer a choice of items where possible. Carrots or peas, or both for example. My daughter didn’t like cooked carrots for years, but loved them raw. Not a big deal, she got some raw bits while I was preparing it.

  16. If mealtimes are becoming a misery or a battle ground then change the scene. Have tea in a tent or at a small table on tiny chairs with teddies attending.

  17. Getting children involved in food preparation and being allowed to help prepare meals really helps and encourages them to try a variety of food. And staying calm helps!

  18. I have found that taking the fussy eater with you on food shopping trip /s can help. Can then make food, meal choices with the child. Means that the child is aware of what will be offered at meal time /s.

    Give the child attention :- For being good, polite, respectful, etc.
    Allow the family to eat, to refuel, re-energise. Appetite may vary.

  19. Don’t make a fuss about it, it makes them worse, put the food on their plate, if they eat it, great, if they don’t, don ‘t worry

  20. get the kids involved in the cooking (or prepping) of the dishes… they’re more likely to eat something they feel proud of making

  21. My top tip is not to make a big deal of it – just dish up smaller portions of what everyone else is eating, mine were willing to try new foods as long as they weren’t faced with a full plate (if they eat it all and are still hungry you can always dish up more). Dishing up at the table helps

  22. Your tips 4 and 5 work best for me. Take the children shopping, get them to choose acceptable products to cook, buy them an apron and let them help cook the foods they have chosen and cooked.

  23. Get your child involved in cooking as it will increase their interest in the food, and they’re more likely to eat a meal they’ve helped prepare.

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