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He is extremely fussy with food and I can`t get him to try anything new

Hi Leanne,
I have a boy, just turned 3, he is extremely fussy with food and I can`t get him to try anything new. If I get anything into his mouth that he doesn`t think he likes he will vomit immediately. It is totally irrational, his brother and sister are great eaters and I`ve done nothing different with this one. How can I get him to eat new things. Right now he is stuck on chicken nuggets have to be Steggles tempura!), plain bread (no butter or spread), sausage, breakfast cereal and 2 minute noodles. HELP!!

Answer: Hi There, Much of what we eat can be driven by personality as you have found You can do all the right stuff butstill end up with a fussy foodie, hence personality has a strong influence. Its hard to say if you are looking at fear of new foods or just plain ole fusy eating. Most healthcare professionals will say that as long as your preschooler is gaining weight at his usual rate and is happy and healthy, he won`t starve himself.But as a parent this can be of little comfort. My short checklist if ideas (which you may have already trialed) include:
  1. Persisting with offering the healthy stuff even if it is rejected
  2. Sneaking in the good stuff where you can which makes avoiding the battles (no-one wins those ones) easier
  3. Getting them involved
  4. Offering a healthy supper down the line if dinner is rejected and your toddler complains of being hungry
  5. Trying to use the foods they do eat as a basis for making other food/meals that are more likely to be enjoyed. For example cream cheese on a bagel, pasta with bacon and a cream cheese base, bread and butter pudding made with calcium enriched milk such as soy or rice, try sweet potato chips etc.
  6. Swap lunch and dinner if that helps and make meal portions achievable (small but healthy).
  7. Check milk or other fluids aren’t interfering with their appetite.
  8. Remember that food rejection is a normal behaviour for most toddlers and preschoolers.
  9. Repeat the mantra "this like all things in infancy and childhood, will pass" and it will!
I have a tip sheet on fussy eating on Huggies that might have some pointers, but again I really think it would be best to get some help with this, the link is: Picky Eating Also I think the Jessica Seinfeld book using purees is a good idea, but I reduce the sugar, use olive oil and don’t add salt, I also have a recipe book based on my fussy foodie. All of that may be old news to you and if you really feel it is more prsonality driven, then it may be more helpful to talk with a childhood consulant or psychologist for some behavioural tips on how to reduce this anxiety aound food. If you feel you really would like some help and also to check that he is getting all he needs, there are a few options you might like to consider, if you wanted to start out with the obvious you might like to see a naturopath, nutritionist or dietitia who specialises in children. They will be able to firstly review what your little one does eat and tell if there may be some nutritional issues to be addressed and if so, how they are best dealt with. Then advise you othe fussy eat and what tips and tricks might help. Another option is a feedng expert, I have two links below for you: Aussie: www.nofussfeeding.com.au NZ: http://www.paediatricfeedingdisordersclinic.co.nz/index.htm So I he some of this helps set you on a easier eating coarse soon. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 29 Apr 2009