When we first started weaning all those years ago (only a year and a half, but still feels like forever ago!) Grayson was such a good eater. He would eat anything you put in front of him or put on a spoon for him, but as he hit ‘toddler-hood’ he learned that actually, he didn’t have to eat what we put in front of him and that he didn’t like all foods.
Grayson is now 2, and while he still isn’t the best eater he definitely isn’t as bad as he used to be. These are some of the tips that have really helped us with improving Grayson’s eating.
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Try variations of things you know they like.
Grayson has always really liked Porridge and Weetabix for breakfast, so I use this as an opportunity to try different flavour combinations to see what he likes the most and the least. You don’t have to make the flavours too strong to start with, so you can build them over time to make them strong. Grayson’s favourite is banana, peanut butter and cinnamon and his least favourite was definitely grated apple (that did not go well), but at least now we know!
This tip can work in so many other ways, if your child(ren) likes toast or sandwiches you could slowly try different toppings/fillings. There are always a number of different flavour options to try.
Have them try things on your plate.
This has always worked really well for Grayson, even if it’s something we’ve tried him with before, if he sees us tucking into something then he’s more likely to come over and ask if he can try again. He doesn’t enjoy everything of course, but I think he feels like a big boy if he tries the food directly from our plate.
Find ways to add in fruit or vegetables.
This doesn’t always work with Grayson, because he sometimes has a sixth sense for things being snuck into his food. I don’t do this with everything, however, if I know it’s something that he won’t taste but he’ll get the goodness – I’ll add it. If I make any pasta sauces, I’ll now add grated carrot and cook it down so that I can add more than I know he’d normally eat. We also add extra fruit to his yogurts, which works really well and we’ll make him smoothies that include a lot of different ingredients.
I haven’t tried it yet, but you could try using a spiralizer to create vegetable pasta/noodles for your children and the colours would certainly add an extra fun feel to their food!
Reward trying foods.
We don’t always do this, but if we’ve tried Grayson with a certain food a couple of times, and he eventually does try it then we’ll reward him with a dessert or something sweet for trying. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding good behaviour, especially when you’ve spent so long trying to get them to try something.
Obviously, they aren’t going to enjoy everything they eat but as long as they try foods that’s the main thing.
Try to be as patient as possible.
When you’re on the 6th day of chicken nuggets and chips, with even their favourite fruit being refused it’s hard not to stress and get frustrated. You just want them to eat something with a bit more nutrition in it, rather than constantly asking for crisps.
But the more you show your frustration at meal times, they will sense that. Late last year this was us, we were so worried Grayson wasn’t eating anything that was helping him that we’d get so frustrated at dinner times – and he knew that and didn’t want dinner for a while. But when we took a step back, and relaxed with it, things instantly improved. We also found some vitamins that we could give him that would help him get the nutrition he needed whilst we wasn’t really eating the healthiest of meals.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s certainly not the best eater but he has definitely improved to the point where we don’t stress as much over it.
If you’ve got any tips for fussy eaters, please link them below!