Managing Fussy Eaters | Great Health Guide
Managing Fussy Eaters

Managing Fussy Eaters

Written by Nicola Jaffrey accredited practising dietitian 

Anyone with kids will know that mealtimes can be a stressful part of the day, particularly at dinner. Kids can be fussy at the best of times, but throw tiredness, hunger and emotion into the mix and it’s easy to see why this time of day can be so trying.

To reduce the stress at this time of day (for both the parents and kids), it can be really helpful to establish a simple mealtime routine.

“Establish a simple mealtime routine

to reduce stress & fussy eating behaviours.”

A simple mealtime routine involving sitting down to enjoy dinner together is not only beneficial for the kids but is a great opportunity to enjoy family time together.

During this time, you will be able to interact, encourage and praise positive behaviours, listen to your kid’s stories and their unique take on life while they learn how to eat and how to behave. It is also an opportunity to praise and encourage them to trial new foods and demonstrate positive eating behaviours.

Why create a mealtime routine?

There are a number of reasons why establishing a routine around meals can be helpful. Your kids become familiar with what’s involved at mealtime, what they need to do to get ready, and what’s coming next.

While there is no magical way to stop your child going through a fussy eating stage, creating a positive eating environment is the key to helping them manage this and move through this phase as quickly as possible.

What does a mealtime routine look like?

Mealtime routines don’t have to be elaborate, in fact the simpler the better. They should suit your family, be easy to follow and be consistently achieved. Mealtime routines should also have a defined start and finish, the length of which will depend on the age of your children.

An example routine for your child could include:

  • Stop the games that they are playing and wash their hands.

  • Help set the table (age dependent).

  • Eat the meal at the table with the TV, iPad, phones off or away so there are no distractions.

  • Sit down at the table while the parent/s bring out the food.

  • Dinner is finished when Mum and Dad have finished dinner (again, this is age dependent).

Want your own FREE COPY of Great Health Guide

& delivered to your inbox each month?

Look to your right…

What to do when things don’t go to plan?

Perfection is never the goal when it comes to feeding your kids because no matter how hard you try it just won’t happen. No matter how the day has played out, things will often go wrong at mealtimes, but establishing your routine can help when this happens as you understand your role.

Your role as the parent is to provide the food and a safe and positive eating environment for your kids. It is then their job to decide if and how much they will eat. If they choose not to eat, or eat very little on some nights, we need to trust them and allow them to make this decision.

Create a calm environment for mealtimes.

Mealtime routines can be a great way to create a calm eating environment for both you and your kids. Less stress means more opportunity for your kids to develop a positive relationship with mealtimes and begin to be adventurous with their food.

Often sitting down with the whole family for a mealtime is hard to do but aim for at least one parent to sit down for dinner with the kids if the other parent is unavailable. This is a great start. As always, the aim is to make mealtimes and feeding kids a stress free as possible. Find a routine that works for you and your family and enjoy this crazy ride that is feeding your kids.

Author of this article:

Nicola Jaffrey is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and the owner of kids nutrition business, Grub for Kids. With over eight years of experience as a dietitian and three young children of her own, Nicola aims to educate, inspire and reduce the stress of parents when it comes to feeding their kids. You can find out more info about Grub for Kids on her website.

To get your FREE MAG each month CLICK HERE.

Love this? Your friends probably will too. 

Why not share the love & forward this article.

Author Great Health Guide

More posts by Great Health Guide

Leave a Reply