cildren eat healthy galway
cildren eat healthy galway

Proven things to try with your fussy eater

While fussy eating can be complex and varies with individual kids, how we interact with food around our kids can be very influential. Having said that, I always say to my clients “what’s done is done” so regardless of what has happened in the past, it’s important to focus on what we can do in the present and into the future.

Common patterns of fussy eaters

Poor eating habits can develop quite easily and quickly, without us even realising it.
While kids may gravitate to eating  the easiest foods (like white bread) as they are a quick source of energy, this results in frequent low blood sugar levels (ie your child is running out of fuel for both their body and mind). This may result in your child being irritable, losing concentration etc. 

To get help or not for your fussy eater?

To get help or not for your fussy eater? Here’s the lowdown:


Parents with kids who don’t eat well can wonder should they seek expert help and also when should this happen, for example, should help be sought if it persists a certain length of time?


With fussy eating it can be difficult to know if it's going to last. Therefore it’s important to know what to be more concerned about:

  • Your child has experienced weight loss or isn't growing. This is a major concern. Of course multitude causes can be at play here and your child’s medical team need to investigate medical factors. Then a limited diet (in terms of quantity, quality or variety) can be explored.
  • If their list of acceptable foods is short or declining over time.
  • Your child demonstrates a negative response to many foods, including signs of distress or anxiety, such as crying, anger, or tantrums.
  • Your child is resistant to subtle changes in food e.g., if it’s served differently to how “exactly they like it,” or changes in their preferred brands etc.
  • Your child is overweight. It’s a myth to assume all fussy eaters are thin. Some picky eaters are overweight because they mainly eat ‘other’ foods rather than what I call ’growing foods’ like fruit and vegetables.
  • Your child mainly eats different foods from the rest of the family. The problem with this is that it means more work for the cook. Yet even more importantly, ‘kid friendly’ food is usually a poorer quality than ‘adult food’. Think of most kid’s menus: they’re composed of chips, sausages, nuggets and the likes. Is this just a marketing gimmick to get kids to think they should be eating different foods from adults?
  • Your child doesn’t eat the major food groups, which are: Carbohydrates (Grains or cereals), Protein (Meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes), Vegetables, Fruit, Calcium sources can be found in the above (whether dairy or dairy free) and lastly, I would also include good fats (including unsaturated fats and essential fats).


One simple way of determining if your child has adequate variety is to write down everything they eat for a few days. Then categorise each item according to their food group. Sometimes this can be very revealing for example, you may not realise that your child’s intake is dominated by various forms of carbohydrate (like pasta, cereal, bread, crackers etc).


Finally you may feel you would benefit from expert guidance if:

  • Meal times are simply stressful.
  • You would like to be proactive, to avoid picky eating getting worse or continuing long-term.
  • You are unsure how best to handle your child’s fussy eating.
This formed part of an article that first appeared in
The above information is general only and does not apply to everyone. If you’re looking for personalised, healthy eating support and advice for your child, why not consider booking a consultation with me? Email me at
Expert help is available in Galway City or by Skype (throughout Ireland)

Why put off what you can start today? 

Don’t wait for a crisis to start making positive changes


colette reynolds

BA (Psych), MSc (Health Psych), PhD (Health Promotion), Member of AHPI, BTEC (Nutrition & Health Coaching), IINH Certified

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