Feeding FAQ: 24+ months – Food Fussiness

I am concerned about my 2.7-year-old son’s fussiness over food

As you can see from the daily progress report, my son is a very fussy eater. He has been like this now for a year. He won’t eat any meat that has been prepared in a sauce or that isn’t covered in breadcrumbs. He does however eat a load of fruit and enjoys bread. I’ve been told by an expert that he’s okay as he is. I’m not sure I want to follow that advice. At present he eats weetabix or muesli for breakfast. At lunch he has either chicken nuggets, sausages or pasta. He eats all types of fruit and enjoys sandwiches, usually made with cheese. He will also eat organic fruit bars and yoghurts. He drinks flavoured water topped up with bottled water at 12.30 and 5.30pm and drinks about 6oz of cows milk at 7.30am and 6.30pm.

Getting your son more interested in preparing food, both for his meals and the whole family, could help him try a wider variety of dishes. Take him shopping with you and talk to him about the vegetables and produce you are buying. Show him the different types of vegetables and fruit, enjoy smelling freshly made bread at the bread counter or bakery, tell him about the meals you are going to prepare for yourself and generally make him aware of all the things he could eat.

If you would like him to be more interested in vegetables, introduce them in a very small way alongside his familiar meals. Put three peas on his plate and comment on their lovely fresh green colour. Give him one slice of carrot or one very small broccoli floret and see if he will at least try it for taste even if he doesn’t eat it all. Try to share at least one meal a day with him and offer him the same things to eat as you are having. Let him help feed his baby sister, who may be a little more adventurous in her tastes than he is, and let him watch you prepare her food. Many small children can be very wary of new foods and prefer to stay with the few things they know and like. If you use mealtimes as a social occasion when the whole family is together, he should be happier to try a wider variety of food. Let him use his fingers by providing finger foods such as chicken goujons as a change from nuggets. If he doesn’t like meat in a sauce then cut him up some very small pieces without a sauce. Often small children prefer their food separated on a plate, with small quantities of each, but a wide variety, so they can see each item they are eating. Offer 2 goujons, 1 slice of carrot, 1 broccoli floret, 1/2 small potato and a few peas. It may not look much to you but there is plenty of colour and different textures for him to look at and he is able to see each individual item. If he enjoys pasta then offer him some grated cheese to put on the top and again a variety of colourful vegetables.

Let him help you cook. As he likes bread you could use a ready made pizza base and get him to help you add the topping. Use a tomato base and then show him how to make a face, grated cheese for the hair, a tomato slice for each eye, a strip of pepper for the mouth. Actively involving your child in making food is one of the easiest ways to encourage them to try new things. It may take a little more time and thought for you but will really encourage them to be more adventurous.