I particularly love to help children who struggle with their food. Of course, as a Nutritionist, I know how important food is in those the first few years but I’m also aware that parents know this too!
There is not a single parent on earth that would wish for a fussy eater.
It is incredibly stressful. The parents I see often feel like a total failure. It can affect relationships because of the stress involved and it makes socialising and family time very difficult.
There is also the constant need to justify yourself and your parenting. Questioning why your child will only eat certain foods and certain brands served on a certain plate at a certain time with a certain TV show on!!!
No one wants that for their child!
The psychology around food is complicated. We have a complicated emotional relationship with food. We know that good nutrition is important and as parents we want the best for our children. We want them to be healthy and we that what they eat is key to this.
This is why food becomes a big issue when it’s not going exactly how you planned!
Over the years I’ve helped many families with fussy eating but there have also been times where I’ve been frustrated because I needed to know the psychology in order to really make a difference.
I realise I am not a psychologist! More about this later!!!
Before I do that, I’m going to give you some of the most common reasons why your child may be fussy and then I’m going to tell you exactly how you can solve this issue forever. And I mean solve it completely; done, dusted, the stress gone, your child eating a range of different foods!
Why your child may not be eating what you would like/expect them to?
1. Medical Reasons: Sometimes there are medical situations that may be causing a child not to eat. If your baby or young child are losing weight, appears poorly or are not growing and developing as they should then the first place to go is your GP.
2. Constipation: There is only so much space in a child’s bowel and if they are not able to go to the toilet due to constipation then it is likely they will refuse any food until they have made some space.
3. Milk: Milk is not a drink but a food. It is incredibly easy to give a young child too much milk. They simply will not be hungry at mealtimes.
4. Anaemia: Signs of anaemia in children can include pale skin, tiredness, dark circles under the eyes, tummy pains, dizziness, irritability and loss of appetite. Your GP can check for anaemia via a blood test. Iron deficiency is common in young children so be sure to include iron rich foods such as meat, leafy greens and dried apricots.
5. Zinc: Children that are often poorly, look pale, are small for their age, have sleep disturbances, skin issues and loss of appetite may well be deficient in zinc. This is a key nutrient for growth as well as the immune system and skin. Deficiency can also cause the symptom, diarrhoea. Include zinc rich foods such as fish, seeds, nuts and meat. I use a simple test to check children’s mineral levels. You can find out more HERE.
6. Sickness bug: If your child has had a sickness bug, then it is possible that they need to take a little time to trust food again. Opt for small portions and give plenty of variety.
7. Teething: If your mouth was hurting would you want to eat? Babies who are cutting teeth will often prefer milk over any food. Do not panic, give them foods that will be soothing the gums i.e. chilled cucumber and be ready when the teeth are through for a big increase in appetite.
8. Tired or Poorly: A young child simply cannot cope with eating when they are tired. If they are unwell then their body instinctively knows that energy is needed elsewhere in the body and would prefer not to be digesting food at this time.
9. Pressure: The more you try to encourage and pressurise a child to eat the harder it becomes for them, to the point in some cases where they completely refuse all meals. Respect that a child knows when they are full!
10. More pressure: There is nothing worse than being pressured to eat something you dislike. It turns you off food completely. Appreciate that we are all individuals & although you know that avocado would be a great healthy food, if your child doesn’t like it, they will not eat it!
11. Snacking: If you constantly offer food and drinks without any routine, then your child will be full before they even get to the main meal. Remember a child’s tummy is only small. Keep portions to an age appropriate size & set a schedule.
So, if you’ve considered all of the above and addressed these and your child is still not eating what you expect then you are going to need to understand why. If you know why, then you can do something about it!
You need to understand the psychology of eating!
After realising that I needed the psychology aspect in order to really help parents, I teamed up with Jo Cormack, a leading expert in picky eating (and a psychologist!!).
Jo wrote the books War and Peas and Helping Children Develop a Positive Relationship with Food A Practical Guide for Early Years Professionals. She even has a PhD in the subject!
She really knows her stuff. When she put together her online programme, I was invited to review it. I was absolutely bowled over by it, so much so that I now ask all fussy eaters to go through this programme before I do anything nutritionally with them.
In her own words, Jo wrote this about her course:
“I enable parents to understand their child’s responses to food as a coping mechanism, and I teach them how to help their child learn to eat a more varied diet. I have spent a year distilling my professional knowledge and experience into a comprehensive online program so that more parents can enjoy the relaxed and positive family mealtimes that they long for. Maybe you have tried following the kind of picky eating tips other parents share or that you’ve read online: you’ve tried using reward charts and incentives, you’ve tried distracting your child or telling them that they need to eat in order to be healthy. You might even have been advised to let them get so hungry that they are forced to eat. You may have looked for help in many places but not found anything that has worked. Like lots of parents in your position, you might be feeling desperate and that you have simply run out of ideas. “
I can honestly say with 100% confidence that this is the answer to solving fussy eating.
If you decide to go ahead with the course, I follow this up (all as part of the price) with nutritional help. You then have the best of both words.
Fussy eating sorted for good! Now imagine what that’s like!
You can look at the course HERE and if you have any questions please send me a PM to email@example.com
I would love to see the stress dissolve for you and your child. I would love you to be able to go out for lunch, go to a friends house for a meal, pick any restaurant, see your child eat a balanced healthy meal and above all know that you did everything you could to make it better.