Home > Kids > Toddler > How To Conquer The Fussy Eaters

I know, it baffles me too when you give your child a meal which you may (or may not!) have been slaving over the hot stove for what feels like hours, just for them to turn their nose up. You try it, you whack it up on your Instagram stories to show off to all your mum friends, and you’re half tempted to give Jamie Oliver a buzz to get his verdict on it because you think it’s that damn good. And quite frankly, you’d give anything to have someone cook something delicious for you…so why don’t they want it!?

It’s totally A-Okay to not like everything, but it’s always good to try. How many times have you tried something you don’t like? If you don’t try, you don’t know! So, here are my top tips to conquer those fussy eaters…

Get involved!

Let your child have some sort of choice over their meals. When it comes to doing the food shop, allow them to pick some new fruit and veg to try…how exciting!! I love taking children to the supermarket, walking up and down the aisles, seeing what they want to try. It’s also great for their own knowledge. I aim for 1 new food or flavour a week. Realistically sometimes this doesn’t always happen. If they’re sick, tired, all of the above, it’s not worth giving them something you ultimately know they won’t enjoy. Sometimes their favourite home comfort food is what they fancy. Pick your time and your place. If you’re more of a home delivery kind of family, then hop online and have a browse with your little one. Let them do the clicking, it’ll make them have the feeling that they ‘did’ it. 

Allow them to have a flick through some recipe books, grown up or children’s ones! See what they think looks good. Go out and buy the ingredients together so they can see what’s going into their meals. 

Ready Steady Cook

Chop together. Mix together. Cook together. Bake together. And make it fun! I love these fab child friendly knifes from Kiddi Kutter. They’re a great way of letting your child have some more independence and involvement. Also, great for them to see what is actually going into their meals. As always, please do supervise just in case they have other ideas…! You don’t want to be off to A&E purely because you were trying to get your child to eat a carrot.

Make them feel like a proper little chef in that kitchen and buy a cute apron and mini baking tool set. This will also (hopefully…!) save you some laundry. The more ‘involved’ they feel, the better.

Role Play

This is great for everyone, but especially little ones. Using some plastic, wooden, or even real fruit and veg, pretend to make up some recipes and serve to each other. Just make sure you go OTT with the whole “oh it’s delicious, SOOOO yummy in my tummy” thing when they serve you up some plastic bread with a felt cheese slice! Let them use your utensils, sauce pans etc. This is very exciting for them, especially as these are the ones you use, they’ll be feeling like a boss. 

We Are family

I appreciate this isn’t always possible with work and other commitments, but try make an effort by doing this a few times a week if you can. Sit down and have a family meal. Talk to your little ones, engaging them in a grown-up conversation. Imagine if you had to sit there all by yourself and eat whilst someone meticulously watches you. Terrifying. I don’t think I’d eat either!

Children learn from example, so by them watching you eat your supper, will encourage them to eat theirs! I find it best to serve a big dish, such as lasagne, curry etc, and serve it up on the table in front of them, and make sure you’re all eating the same thing, you don’t want them getting FOMO, resulting in you having the left overs of whatever they don’t eat!

Stealth Is Wealth

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for children seeing what they are eating. Don’t hide that tomato under the ham, trust me, they’ll find it. However…if you’re making a tomato pasta sauce or bolognaise for example, there is no harm in grating or chopping those veggies till they’re small enough to go through a pin head and adding it into the mix. Those hidden veg are full of all the nutritional goodness your little one needs.


Because one more piece of plastic fantastic garish crockery won’t hurt, will it?! Let your little ones choose a fun plate or bowl to eat from. I love the ones with a fun picture at the bottom, they’re great for encouraging them to eat the whole plate to reveal the picture.

Keep Trying

They say it takes a child 10 goes at trying something before their taste buds decide whether it’s good or not. Just because your child licked the broccoli once and they instantly decided they didn’t like it, doesn’t mean it should never ever ever be served on their plate, ever again! Give it a few goes. I always go by the saying “smell it, lick it, chew it, swallow it.” It works…most of the time! 

You don’t need to panic if your child who was once beautifully weaned and ate everything and anything, now only eats a handful of (possibly beige) meals. Children’s taste buds are constantly developing. This is also their way of taking some control. As long as your child is eating enough of a well-balanced diet, they’ll be okay. If you can, avoid caving and giving them another option or a slice of toast. If you do this once, you’ll be doing it every meal time.

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