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Fussy Eating and Toddlers

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
Fussy Eating and Toddlers
I came across a great resource on twitter recently. It really helps parents who have toddlers that are a bit fussy with their food.

I got a reminder to share it with you peeps out there by way of Ollie.

I went round to visit a client and I overheard her 3 yo say, "mummy, you need to turn the TV off when I'm eating!"

WOW, that was something I never thought I'd hear a child say, never mind a 3-year-old. Amazing.

So I thought it was about time I shared this little gem as well.

So what is this resource and who are these peeps?

They are specialist children's feeding researchers at Loughborough University Centre for Research into Eating Disorders in the UK.

 They are also mothers to pre-school aged children. So they're real experts.

The majority of children experience a stage of fussy eating at some point. This behaviour is totally normal and not something to be seriously concerned about. However, the way in which this initial, normal fussiness is managed can affect whether it continues as the child grows older.

Their aim is to educate about the science behind the behaviour, and provide real strategies and tools that can be used to help tackle fussiness in a positive way. This website will help you to assess and monitor your own and your child's feeding behaviour, learn about common feeding problems, and access tips and tools that can be used to implement changes.

They recommend you start by creating a profile and completing the Feeding Assessment Questionnaire.

As researchers, they are also keen to learn more about parents' feeding practices and young children's eating behaviours BEFORE parents start using our resource. If you have a child aged under 5 years who has been weaned onto solid foods, they would be very grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete this survey: before you create your profile and start on your path to happier and healthier mealtimes!

They divide feeding issues into 5 categories

  • food refusal
  • unhealthy food preferences
  • pressure to eat
  • food as reward
  • restriction
They utilise a questionnaire to assess the issue and then get the parent and/or child to assess pre and post intervention to monitor progress.

They also normalise fussy eating and common pitfalls are identified.

I learnt a lot from their website. And they also have an app for a smartphone to keep an eye on things.

They have great ideas for encouraging fruit and veg intake.

Have a look at it, it may give you a few NEW ideas.

You can also find them on Twitter like I did at Feeding Kids UK.

Here are a few goodies from the top 10 tips
  • Give children a variety of different foods and textures when young will encourage them to enjoy a range of food as they grow.
  • Sometimes 3 large meals can over face a toddler, so it may help to give 3 smaller meals and healthy snacks in between meals.
  • It should not be used as a reward or taken away as punishment. This teaches unhealthy food associations.
  • Restricting foods can make them unintentionally desirable.
  • It can take 10-15 exposures to like a new food. Introduce new foods gradually and over time.
  • Do not force feed your child. The clean your plate mantra is a thing of the past and encourages them to eat past the natural full feeling.
  • Children like to mimic and are like little sponges. If you eat your veggies so will they.
  • Try and have as many dinner table based meals as possible each week and turn the TV off. If Ollie can do it so can you!!!!

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