Is YOUR child a fussy eater? Nutrition expert reveals her dos and don’ts

Evening meal time ought to be a joyful party exactly where households reconnect at the conclude of a extensive working day – hopefully around a delightful and wholesome meal.

But too usually dinner time can be a resource of household conflict – with strain on a baby to ‘eat their greens’ and ‘finish their plate’. 

Speaking to FEMAIL, Sussex-centered baby and baby nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed, shares her top parenting no-nos when it comes to getting children to take in.

The food stuff pro, and writer of How to Feed Your Toddler, insists mothers and fathers ought to under no circumstances label foods as great or negative, and really should hardly ever reward a little one with a sweet treat for eating some thing ‘healthy’.

And she mentioned food times should really be ‘fun’ and not a source of any tension.  

Below, she shares her ideas with FEMAIL…

Eat your greens and finish your plate before you get down from table: A child refuses to eat her food (stock image)

Eat your greens and complete your plate ahead of you get down from table: A baby refuses to eat her meals (inventory graphic)

In no way USE Meals AS A REWARD

If you inform a youngster that if they eat their broccoli they then get an ice-product or pudding as a reward, what you are inadvertently undertaking is highlighting that ice-cream is much better.

This will make them want the ice-product or pudding much more, and as as a consequence it would make the broccoli grow to be fewer desirable. The broccoli then gets to be a chore or pressure to take in and this is not what you want at the supper table. 

Hardly ever Force A Boy or girl TO Take in A thing

Similarly, if you pressure a kid to try to eat a specific food it right away will become less appealing. Hardly ever press a child to try to eat some thing or explain a food stuff as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. In its place simply just use the position design tactic and try to eat it on your own.   

Though you can frivolously persuade a child to consume some thing, it may spend to also be extremely nonchalant about what a youngster eats and just carry on offering it, even if they really don’t try to eat it very first time. Eventually, they will possible choose to attempt it – but it may not be immediately.


Quite a few contemporary-working day mothers and fathers were introduced up with demanding supper desk regulations. These may well have provided preserving elbows off the desk, or sitting up straight or making use of knives and forks appropriately. But extremely-stressing this is a guaranteed-fireplace way to make meals stressful and unenjoyable. 

Even though I am not saying certain rules shouldn’t be there, a mealtime must not be made dull, strict or frightening. If it is, it can be not likely that small children will want to be a section of it. 

Sussex-based baby and child nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed shares her top parenting no-nos when it comes to getting children to eat

Sussex-dependent infant and boy or girl nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed shares her top parenting no-nos when it arrives to having youngsters to try to eat

Under no circumstances Target ON THE Short TERM 

Helping a little one or individual to appreciate foodstuff and take in healthily is all about the very long-time period gain. So do not get pressured if a kid does not try to eat everything healthier through one food. Only preserve supplying well balanced meals and in the extensive-time period they will most possible find out to consume it. 

Usually mother and father make a massive offer when a child is not ingesting anything – but this basically more than-emphasises the food refusal. 

If the child does not want to take in their healthy food stuff, simply just reveal to them that you are consuming it by yourself and go away them be. This will in the end assist nip these behaviours in the bud. 


Some mothers and fathers allow their youngsters take in supper in entrance of the Television set. Individually, I don’t recommended this as the Television or display is basically being used as a distraction and the little one is not learning that food is significant or that it matters. 

The little one will likely not appreciate the food stuff or even feel about it if they are looking at a screen. Instead they should be studying to fully grasp and enjoy range and be in the moment with their likes and dislikes and the diverse textures.

Acquiring stated this, it is essential to not choose other moms and dads for their own selections. If you see a child at a restaurant on a monitor, the guardian could perfectly be determined. You really don’t know the context.

Never ever Provide AN ALTERNATIVE 

While this is an comprehensible response, this is a definite desk no-no and undoubtedly not beneficial in the extended run. Though you may possibly know a kid may possibly eat a firm favorite meals, it is much more essential that you do not restrict other acceptable food items. 

If your child does not like something new that you have served just say to them, ‘I’m sorry but this is all we have on the menu nowadays. If you want a little something else then perhaps we can have it tomorrow.’ 

In no way (Preferably) GET A Young Little one A Choose-Absent

Though it is good to expose little ones to foodstuff from other nations and cultures, bear in mind that choose-aways are commonly not acceptable for young kids. They can be full of salt and sugar and other ingredients less suitable for tiny kinds. 

Consider-aways, having said that, are common so the onus in this article is obtaining the foodstuff business to produce healthier versions of consider-aways for kids.

NAt any time MAKE A Child Complete THIER PLATE 

Creating a little one finish their plate is witnessed by them as force. The exact can be mentioned of compromises, in which you really encourage them to just consume 50 percent their broccoli. 

Having this strain in the course of meal time makes foods and dinner considerably less fascinating and enjoyable and usually means the boy or girl will be a lot less probably to arrive back. 

There is no actual gain to building a little one try to eat ‘one more spoonful’. 

As a substitute…. Provide Fewer

Clearly, foodstuff wastage should not be encouraged, which can be challenging if a child is not finishing their plate. 

To stay away from this, give smaller sized parts, particularly if it truly is a foods you feel they won’t like or has not been experienced just before.  You can also conserve food and maintain it for yet another working day. 

Equally, if a baby is heading via a fussy phase, provide lesser portions and bulk it out with items they like – allowing for them to have seconds if they want.


Do not search for to handle your boy or girl but instead give them autonomy. You don’t know what your child’s urge for food is, or how hungry they are or when they are complete so will not pressure them to eat. 

Children are essentially great at regulating their consumption so have faith in them to try to eat the correct volume for their bodies at that time.

Check out AND MAKE Meal FUN 

Check out and bring some pleasure to meal groups. Youngsters appreciate playing online games and quizzes and chatting. Even though I am not declaring do a full participate in action, bringing fun to a food time will make a youngster love it extra and be in a superior, additional ready mood. 

If there is an ingredient of enjoyment, there is much less room for it to develop into a pressurised or a detrimental ecosystem. There is no advantage to a child not psychologically experiencing their food. 


If you have a child that eats an dreadful lot, then consider and diversify the meal. You can give finger foodstuff – these types of as sticks of celery and carrots – to slow down the pace of taking in, or give a starter plate of veg. This will fill them up on healthy fibrous foodstuff.