My children are fussy eaters… phew I said it! I am fairly sure that admission is the first step to recovery and I need to get this recovery sorted out as I have been rather hiding from this issue that has been getting worse recently. I mean they are not extremely fussy and will eat some really strong flavours including indian curry, pesto and thai curry, but they have an aversion to anything green – unless it is broccoli which they adore or hidden in a sauce! As they do eat a variety of foods and will try new flavours I have been convincing myself that they weren’t really fussy eaters, but honestly I can’t eat anymore broccoli! Enough is enough!
The Hate List
I have noticed that over the past year or so one of the boys has become an increasingly fussy eater. Sometimes it is easier to ask him what he will eat than what he won’t. His exclamations of ‘Yuk’ at every opportunity have been starting to rub off on his sisters so I decided we needed to nip this in the bud before I end up in a situation where everyone only eats certain things and I have 4 super fussy eaters. I just can’t manage that. Currently my little boy’s hate list grows daily and some things that were on the love list one day can be on the hate list the next. I can’t keep up. He doesn’t even like things that you expect kids to love so currently on the hate list (this is not exhaustive just the ones I can think of right now) are:
Chips (these are like his mortal enemy)
Anything in breadcrumbs
Any vegetable other than cucumber and broccoli
Any type of sandwich unless it is Jam
Any cereal except Cornflakes
Tomato (unless in sauce)
Almost every dinner I cook…
I had seen that Empty Nest Mummy had done a vegetable tastes test successfully with her littles so I decided to give it a whirl in an attempt to make trying new stuff fun. So before they came down this morning I chopped up different raw vegetables and then we put them all on a plate so we could see all the colours that we had. We included a variety of colours and textures and we talked about the health benefits different vegetables might have for them such as helping to prevent disease, improving skin, helping them to grow, helping them to heal etc….
What we tried:
I started with my least fussy child as he already likes some of the veggies we included and I thought that might help. It did! He was very vocal about how much he liked the carrot and the peas (which he has previously hated) that his sisters were intrigued. He is the eldest and they think he is awesome so if he says it is good it must be worth a try. He was the one who tried the most items and who discovered the most likes. He now tells me that he likes Spinach, Red Peppers, Red Cabbage and Peas which he has always maintained he hated. The twins still weren’t willing to try everything, but there was some success as we now have two girls who like peas – woohoo!!
As for our super fussy eater; well he still wouldn’t try anything new, but he ate the cucumber and he kept coming over to see what we were doing and asking what the others liked so he definitely had FOMO. This has to be a positive thing. My theory is that if I push him to join in he will just dig his heels in so we just carried on and let him come over when he wanted to. I encouraged him to get involved and explained that if he didn’t like something once he had tried it that was fine, but still he wouldn’t actually try anything. I think we will start to do this more regularly so that we can hopefully gradually introduce him to new vegetables and continue to encourage our other fussy eaters to continue to eat a wider variety.
He is a tough nut to crack (incidentally he doesn’t like nuts either) so I am continuing with school dinners for him so that he is exposed to a wide range of foods which his peers are all eating and continue to get feedback from school that he is eating each day. I am also going to be trying this book:
He might be a bit too old for it, but it is worth a try and if he doesn’t go for it I can always read it to the twins – advantages of having lots of littles!
I totally recommend trying this activity with your fussy eaters. We actually did have fun doing this and although I couldn’t get the fussiest of them all to try anything new I still felt his involvement:
It was way more successful than just putting them on the plate with their meals which I have tried endlessly with little progress. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get that pea risotto, that I love so much, back on the menu actually with at least a vague hope that someone else will eat it!