This is an example of one Mum with a fussy eater, who I started working with recently. Lets call her Mary and she has 3 kids, aged 10, 8 and 6.
I’m a healthy eater myself and love to eat. Fuelling the body and good nutrition is very important to me and for my family.
Yes my 10 year old is definitely a fussy eater. He would happily eat just bagels and jam, as well as sausages on a white roll with ketchup, attached is his 3 day food log below. Also he’s definitely not open to any ‘new or different foods’ and if I put anything like this on the table, there’s lots of complaining.
My boy was a good eater and had good variety in his diet for his first two years. After his sister came along, he started point blank refusing to eat what was offered. This was of course the toddler in him asserting his independence. But it was easier at the time to give him an alternative such as chicken nuggets and chips. While I stopped doing this ages ago, I think it had long-term effects on his eating.
My eldest boy’s eating definitely has a knock-on effect on his younger siblings so that they end up eating less healthy. My middle child for example would happily eat foods such as stew on his own, when my eldest isn’t around. Even when I serve familiar meals, there is still complaining about meals. It’s like complaining about food especially meals has become normalised in our home – it’s been going on so long.
I think for lots of parents they just accept fussy eating as a phase. They are so glad that their child will eat anything at all, that they just end up offering what they know they will definitely eat- the same foods repeatedly. They also hope their children will just grow out of this fussy eating, in time.
I wanted to support my growing boy as best I can, before he becomes a teenager and becomes more independent making more of his own choices at secondary school. But I didn’t know what to do to help him. And I just want to have dinner ‘without the battles’.