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Real mums share: 'How I deal with fussy eaters'

By Carolyn Tate | Presented by PediaSure|

Make meal time easier.

As all parents are aware, fussy eating can turn previous harmonious mealtimes into a battleground of tears, tantrums and mashed potatoes on the wall.

But if you're dealing with a fussy eater, know that you're not alone. In fact, up to 85 per cent of children are particular about some type of food.

Need some sound advice to tackle it? We asked real mums to tell us: "What do you do when you have a kid that's fussy eater?"

Remove your emotions from the process

"My life changed the day I decided that my responsibility ends with serving up a variety of good, nutritious food every day. That's my job. My kids' job is to decide what they eat and how much. They might refuse one thing but eat another. They never starve, and now that I've removed the emotion out of it for myself, I'm a whole lot less frustrated." 每 Janine, mum of Sebastian, 11, and Emilia, 9

Encourage your child to help

"My son is objectively a very fussy eater, and it still drives me mad! But I make sure that I involve him in our meal planning each week. He comes along when I do the grocery shopping, and he helps me to pick out the best looking fruit and vegetables. And I always encourage him to sit with me in the kitchen and help out with age appropriate tasks like picking herbs or washing the vegetables when we're cooking. It hasn't magically changed him into an adventurous eater but I can see he's definitely more interested, and he does try more things now." 每 Melisa, mum of Nathaniel, 4

Hide it

"I am the queen of hidden veggies! I always swore I'd never be 'that mum' but since having my girls I have given up this ideal notion that they'd love brussels sprouts and kale. I do hide those veggies in everything though: pasta sauce, muffins, omelettes, even cookies!" 每 Cassandra, mum of twins, Amy and Maggie, 7

Firm but fair

"With a big and busy family, I am not interested in catering to everyone's whims of the day. I serve one meal each evening and if my kids don't like it, they sit there with everyone else while we eat our meal, and then they can have a piece of toast if they want it. Of course, I respect when someone legitimately doesn't like something 每 Noah hates potatoes and Isla likes raw veggies but hates cooked veggies. I usually serve meal components in the middle of the table so everyone can help themselves to what they like." 每 Karina, mum of Noah, 13, Olivia, 10, Tom, 8, and Isla, 7

Make mealtime special

"I try to remove the focus on food at mealtimes, which I know sounds a bit funny, but for us it's a chance to sit down at the end of our busy days and be together. Whether the children eat or not is not the main focus, and I think it takes away the temptation to turn it into an attention-seeking exercise. We share our highs and lows of our day and talk about what's coming up. We never sit in front of the TV or have distractions 每 it's a time for us as a family to share part of ourselves. If the children refuse to eat something, it's never treated as a big deal." 每 Jacinta, mum of Miranda, 7, and Patrick, 5.

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References:

*?? PediaSure? Product Label

? ?Stoltzfus RJ et al.J Nutr. 2004; 134:348每56.

Krebs NF et al. Am J Dis Child. 1984; 138:270每73.

Kusumastuti AC et al. J Indones Biomed. 2018;10(2):133-9.