Yes it’s the fussy eating stage, bit of a double whammy with both fruit and veg, but certainly not unusual. Unfortunately I don’t have a fast fix for this (I would be filthy rich if I did). You will have to preserver and keep trying to find foods he will eat and use them to your best advantage. For example I bake a bit (ugh) but I make things like pumpkin, cheese and zucchini scones with my very fussy 4 year old adores. I get veg into everything I can think of that my son will eat. There are some things you can try and I have added some general tips on fussy eating below. Basically though you need to be tricky with how you get the good stuff in and don’t fall into the trap of unhealthy foods as it is then hard to go back.
Keep offering him the stuff he should be eating even if it is rejected it is a stage and one day he will come out of it. Also there is a new book on the market called Big Mouth, it’s a fun way to get fussy eaters to eat their food, we have just got one and I am trialing it tonight on my son, might be worth a look. Given he likes fun food it may just be the thing!
I also grind up linseeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seed to a powder and add to cereal and smoothies each day, great way of adding some nutrients.
* Involve your little one in meal preparation, cooking, serving etc.
* Grow vegies or vegie bits (i.e. carrots and sprouts in containers on the bench).
* Be clever with food by hiding fruit and vegies where you can: for example, you can include pumpkin in scones, grate vegies into meals, puree fruit into smoothies or include fruit in their yoghurt. I try to consider colour so I put red vegies into tomato-based pasta sauces, white vegies into baking etc.
* Try to involve others – such as carers – in your child’s meal-time. For example, if your child attends family day care, try asking the carer to give them a main meal at lunch.
* Try to be creative with food: make hedge hogs, faces, houses, and discuss the foods you child is selecting, for example, ‘Oh my goodness, are you eating the clown’s nose, now how will he smell things?’. It is a great way to make meal-times fun.
* Consider using iron-fortified cereals as they offer more absorbable iron than many foods and this will help with growth and immunity.
* Be persistent and don’t give up. Continue to put a variety of foods on your child’s plate and don’t make a fuss if it goes uneaten. Simply take the plate away (even if it means the dog is getting a little plump!). Even if the meal is rejected, your child is still being exposed to food that will form a part of their diet later on.
* Don’t let children fill up on snacks too close to meal-time.
* Remember, excessive milk can affect iron uptake so don’t rely too heavily on this drink.
* Ensure all meals – including snacks – include some form of protein (meat, dairy, egg, nuts, seeds, pulses, fish etc). Grind up nuts and seeds and add them to your child’s breakfast each morning, add to smoothies, frittatas, baking etc. With smoothies, don’t forget to add natural yoghurt and opt for additions such as almonds, oats or rice that have around 100mg of calcium per 100ml. *
* Freeze smoothies and make cool iceblocks that are a meal in themselves.
* Add tiny amounts of treats to foods; for example, make cream cheese crackers with a smidge of additive-free hundreds and thousands. Or pop a few on a banana and freeze etc.
* And remember to always be a good example.
Caution with nut allergy
So I hope some of that helps,
I have a fussy eating recipe book out soon if you would like to go on the mailing list pop me a quick email via my web site (www.cadencehealth.com.au
All the best
Cad ence Health
‘What do I Feed my Baby? Baby meals and menus’ eBook and Infant and Childhood Nutrition courses
[Edited on 29/08/2007]