Nutritionist reveals tips to encourage fussy eaters to try new food

I’m a nutritionist and these are 10 ways to handle fussy eaters – and why kids SHOULD have dessert every day

  • Sarah Almond Bushell revealed tips on how to change children’s eating habits
  • Read More: Nutritionist the dos and don’ts every parent needs to know

As almost three quarters of parents say their kids are fussy eaters, a nutritionist revealed family holidays can actually inspire kids to shake up their meals.

Child nutritionist Sarah Almond Bushell revealed that children change their eating habits when food is an enjoyable experience and helping them use all their senses is really important. 

She said: ‘Eating shouldn’t be a chore and repeatedly encouraging experimentation through discovery and play and involving kids in their food choices is the key to expanding picky palettes.’

As a result TUI BLUE decided to launch Adventurous Appetites which offers food related activities such as Odd Bites where children can try very unexpected food combos.

And Kids Á La Carte, where children are tasked with opening their own restaurant and the first customers are their parents.

When polled, 90 percent of kids revealed the weird food combinations they’d try included noodles and melted cheese, chips drizzled with chocolate, pizza topped with cornflakes, and broccoli and ice cream.

Sarah shared the ten top tips to help parents encourage more adventurous appetites.

Child nutritionist Sarah Almond Bushell revealed that children change their eating habits when food is an enjoyable experience and helping them use all their senses is really important (stock image) 

1. Follow a pattern

Eating schedules help little mouths to feel secure and full up. Plan in mealtimes and snacks, leaving at least 2.5 hours in between one and the next. Resort mealtimes can help to set these routines.

2. Find time for family eating

Holidays offer a great chance to share meals together away from day-to-day stresses. 

Eating together with your children helps introduce them to unfamiliar foods as they watch how you eat and follow your lead.

3. Don’t stress

It’s easier said than done, but taking stress off the table will encourage children to eat more. Parents should focus on providing the food, whilst kids decide what to eat. Use our Healthy Eating Challenge to give kids the control so they can choose based on the scorecard – and collect rewards.

4. Serve family-style

Lay the table with a variety of serving dishes and have your children serve themselves and you from the selection of food. This is a great way to use the all-inclusive buffet at your resort and lets your little one feel that they are still in charge of what goes in their mouth.

5. Introduce a learning plate

Use a side plate for a small amount of new food and encourage children to explore it using their 5 senses, not just their taste buds. Learning through play and experimentation is important – and at least on holiday someone else can help with the mess!

6. Try it before you sell it

Make sure the kids see you trying new foods and commenting on how delicious they are. Don’t pressure them to try new choices but engage their curiosity. Actions speak louder than words!

7. Make food fun

30 percent of parents have used cookie cutters to make their children’s food look more interesting. 

As children ‘eat with their eyes’, make sure food looks nice to encourage more bites. Why not try the Healthy Eating Challenge to reward your little ones when they try new foods in different colours.

8. Talk up the food

Focus on the food not the eating. For example, talk about where the food comes from, what colour it is, how it tastes and smells and not about whether your child has eaten it or not, or even if they’ve liked it.

9. Choose daily desserts

While 41 per cent of parents use sweet treats to encourage adventurous eating, it’s  better to make dessert a normal part of every meal rather than a reward for kids after cleaning their plates. In other words, let them loose on the dessert buffet!

10. Get active

Make use of the holiday weather and plan a high energy activity every morning. 

Activities like getting them in the pool or a trip to the beach will help your child come to the lunch table with an appetite and enough get-up-and-go to want to try new food. 

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