Tackling Your Fussy Eaters

Tackling Your Fussy Eaters

Has every family mealtime turned into an intense battleground? Do your children seem to pick and choose what they’re willing to eat, almost daily? There are loads of options for healthy, tasty homeschool meals or family favorites without breaking the bank, resorting to unhealthy alternatives, or having to fight to get your kids to eat them. Whether it’s lunchtime in your homeschool classroom or dinner when everyone gets back, these handy hints regarding how to tackle fussy eating will help! 

1. Control your Cupboards

Who does all the grocery shopping? That’s right – it’s you. Not your kids. If they see a fridge full of sugary drinks and a pantry bursting with cookies and potato chips, that’s what they’ll go for. It’s no wonder they won’t eat all their dinner! Instead, if you make sure you’re stocked up with the foods and drinks you want your children to eat, they will eat them. Fussiness won’t win out over actual hunger, so make sure you don’t allow your little ones to access the kitchen for a couple of hours before serving them a meal. 

2. Mix It Up

You choosing what food you buy doesn’t mean you have to serve the same thing all the time. If your child thinks, “It’s lunchtime, that means a ham sandwich,” that might lead to some fussiness or refusal. Challenge yourself to make a different lunch and dinner every day of the week, keeping them on their toes. Reinforce this by saying things like, “Isn’t it great that we get to keep trying new things?” Also, filling your cupboard with things you want them to eat doesn’t mean that they can’t take some ownership when it comes to choice. For example, rather than giving them bran every morning, give them a choice of sugar-free cereals for breakfast, or maybe the option of some fresh berries and yogurt. This means that they’re still eating healthy food, but they are less likely to be picky about it because you’re giving them some options.

3. Drop the Labels

If you say things like, “Oh, she won’t eat that,” or “He’ll only eat a full meal if it’s take-out,” – guess what? What you’re saying will come true. Children listen to what we say – believe it or not – and will act accordingly. So, don’t give in to their fussy eating habits by admitting them out loud.

4. Get them Involved

There are many well-researched benefits to involving children in food preparation. The most important of these for you is that they will take pride in what they have achieved, meaning that the actual mealtime is much less likely to be a battle. They can whisk the eggs or put the homemade pizza on a tray (maybe don’t let them put it in the oven though, in case it’s hot). They can set the table or get drinks out for everyone. Whatever you’re doing to prepare their meal, they can help you with it.

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