FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES



mumsnet

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to food as extremely big characters.  In fact, some estimates now suggest that around 50% of children will be identified as ‘fussy’ at some point.

And here’s one of the main reasons why…

At around 18 months it is extremely common for children to develop a degree of what psychologists refer to as neophobia, fear of new foods.   It is thought to be the remnants of a survival instinct to keep newly mobile neanderthal toddler safe from eating new foods such as berries that could potentially have been poisonous.

So, they are not being stubborn but just protecting themselves – and as annoying as it is, it’s also pretty clever!

Some of the forms that neophobia can take include refusal of any food that:

>> They have not been seen before

>> They have had before but that looks slightly different e.g. different packaging, different type or shape cracker, different colour jelly

>> Looks like something they tasted once and disliked

>> Is broken (e.g. biscuit) or has black or brown specks in it e.g. Burnt toast or banana seeds

>> Is mixed together so they can’t see what it is made up of

>> Is touching or contaminated by a food that they don’t like

>> Looks like something disgusting e.g. spaghetti because it looks like worms or I remember my son refusing to eat a rice cake because he could ‘see’ a spider in it.

So when you understand WHY this behaviour is happening and that your child is not being ‘difficult’ but is genuinely afraid and unable to explain or understand it themselves, it makes it a LITTLE easier to tolerate!

The good news is that these fears tend to pass by around age 6.

The bad news is that if we are unprepared for this stage and are unsure how to handle it, we can easily make it worse and BECOME a longer-term problem.  This is particularly the case if it causes significant parental tension and stress and the child starts to feel controlled or to associate strong emotions with mealtimes or particular foods.

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

WANT LESS STRESSFUL MEALTIMES? WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR FUSSY EATER?

(This article was originally posted on the Mother Tribe blog on 22.04.17) A doctorate in child development and years of working with children and families did not prepare me for the sheer frustration and stress of feeding my own family. Three different children with...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to...
Read More

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO MAKE FOOD MORE EXCITING & TRY SPECIAL RECIPES

You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
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HERE’S HOW MANY EASTER EGGS I LET MY KIDS EAT..

When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)...and they do it anyway. And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each. THIS I find mega frustrating. And...
Read More

INSISTING ON ‘TASTING’ IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PICKY EATING

Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you. And then instead of saying, "Here, help yourself!" I said, "Look at this yummy food I've got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I'll give you a...
Read More

WHEN THEY DON’T EAT WHAT YOU KNOW THEY LIKE…

"But you LOVE chicken and rice! Here, have some chicken and rice!" "Don't like chicken and rice." "Yes you DO, you ate a whole bowlful the other day!" Do you ever find yourself having this sort of crazy-making conversation with your toddler or child? You kind of know...
Read More

MY JOURNEY TO FUSS-FREE EATING

I think even as a very young child I knew deep down that being ‘forced’ to eat and rigid mealtime rules just weren't right. I remember sitting at the dining table feeling so confused; I wasn't particular hungry, I'd eaten all the ‘nice’ bits on my plate, and just the...
Read More

HOW TO HANDLE “I HATE YOU MUMMY!”

Hearing these words for the first time from your sweet, innocent ‘baby’ is pretty gutting really.
I had asked my 7-year-old to start tidying away the Lego as it was bedtime soon, and he replied, “No Mummy, I’m still building this.” I could hear he was fairly cross and passionate, and so thinking I was being quite reasonable, I said,

Read More

DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

Click here to apply

 to join my
6 week, one-to-one, Fuss-Free Eating for Life coaching programme

 

 

APPLY NOW

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS



mumsnet

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have absolutely no clue where I saw it, but the sentiment really struck and stayed with me.

I think it’s just very relevant and applicable to kids and parenting –  although possibly more specifically something like, don’t for goodness sake assume you are sorted with something, or a particular phase has past, or that, god forbid, you know what you’re doing!

I’ve learnt this the hard way.  Daring to utter YES, MINE ALL SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT = instant sleepless nights for weeks on end.  Casually sharing with a friend NO, WE DON’T CO-SLEEP, WE’VE NEVER NEEDED TO = the sudden appearance of a toddler in our bed for several months straight.

So, when the other day a Mum responded to what I do with a breezy, “Oh I know loads of people who have fussy eaters, but mine are amazing, they eat everything I feed them, I think they already know they have to as that’s the rules in our house”, I’ll admit, I kind of whispered a little prayer for her.

Her twins are 11 months.

Yes, she could well be one of the extremely rare lucky ones who have children who eat anything and everything from day one and grow into adults who relish food and make healthy choices with gusto.

And I truly so hope this is the case.

But for most children, the truth is that taste, appetite, inclination, concentration change ALL the time.   Sometimes predictably (growth spurt, illness, life event etc.) but others apparently randomly.

And if your approach to mealtimes doesn’t allow a little flexibility, doesn’t allow a little room for manoeuver, I’m sorry to say you’re likely going to be in for a bit of a shock.

And sadly too, there is a good chance that this rigidity will inadvertently but oh so gradually turn into a battle of wills, a battle for control, an anxiety-fuelled push for that senselessly coveted clean plate.

And in the process, you will gradually be eroding your child’s enjoyment of food, your connection with your child and their trust in you, and switching off their innate potential to know when they are hungry or full.

Which is why my approach to eating is all about paying attention to what we are teaching our children, to the messages we are sending them about food and their body, and to the ideal future outcome we want for them in terms of their relationship with food. 

And yes, it’s also most definitely about flexibility.  About always leaving space in our brain for absorbing new information, changing circumstances, and most importantly, what our children are telling us.

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

WANT LESS STRESSFUL MEALTIMES? WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR FUSSY EATER?

(This article was originally posted on the Mother Tribe blog on 22.04.17) A doctorate in child development and years of working with children and families did not prepare me for the sheer frustration and stress of feeding my own family. Three different children with...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to...
Read More

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO MAKE FOOD MORE EXCITING & TRY SPECIAL RECIPES

You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
Read More

HERE’S HOW MANY EASTER EGGS I LET MY KIDS EAT..

When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)...and they do it anyway. And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each. THIS I find mega frustrating. And...
Read More

INSISTING ON ‘TASTING’ IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PICKY EATING

Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you. And then instead of saying, "Here, help yourself!" I said, "Look at this yummy food I've got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I'll give you a...
Read More

WHEN THEY DON’T EAT WHAT YOU KNOW THEY LIKE…

"But you LOVE chicken and rice! Here, have some chicken and rice!" "Don't like chicken and rice." "Yes you DO, you ate a whole bowlful the other day!" Do you ever find yourself having this sort of crazy-making conversation with your toddler or child? You kind of know...
Read More

MY JOURNEY TO FUSS-FREE EATING

I think even as a very young child I knew deep down that being ‘forced’ to eat and rigid mealtime rules just weren't right. I remember sitting at the dining table feeling so confused; I wasn't particular hungry, I'd eaten all the ‘nice’ bits on my plate, and just the...
Read More

HOW TO HANDLE “I HATE YOU MUMMY!”

Hearing these words for the first time from your sweet, innocent ‘baby’ is pretty gutting really.
I had asked my 7-year-old to start tidying away the Lego as it was bedtime soon, and he replied, “No Mummy, I’m still building this.” I could hear he was fairly cross and passionate, and so thinking I was being quite reasonable, I said,

Read More

DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

Click here to apply

 to join my
6 week, one-to-one, Fuss-Free Eating for Life coaching programme

 

 

APPLY NOW

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?



mumsnet

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD’S FUSSY EATING?

Please don’t.

I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else’s children eat everything and yours just won’t.

But it’s really not true – limited food choice is extremely common in young children

AND

It could also be that your child just has a very different innate temperament to other children. In particular, if they are naturally more cautious and/or sensitive, this can make eating very challenging for them. Different textures and unfamiliar foods can be quite overwhelming, and the fear of these new foods can quickly become habitual and result in very rigid eating.

Some children have even been found to be ‘supertasters’ in that they have extra sensitive taste receptors and so they experience food in a very intense way.

So if this is the case, one of the most helpful things you can do is to lower your standards. As long as your child is physically well and not losing significant weight, try your hardest to trust that they will broaden their food repertoire in their own time.

And the key to supporting them with this is the way you respond:

>>> Never force or coerce them to eat something, I promise you, it just doesn’t work for the long-term.

>>> Respect their individual differences and likes and dislikes. It’s okay not to like everything, and some children (and adults) are just not that bothered about food or variety.

>>> Cultivate empathy rather than frustration. I KNOW this is hard, but it can help if you view them as being genuinely scared rather than testing. New foods to them are akin to us being offered a plate of stir-fried live tarantulas.  Seriously!

>>> Cautious children also have a greater need to be prepared and feel in control. So, things like having a weekly menu up so they know what to expect for dinner each night, and allowing them to serve themselves, can help a lot.

So tell me about your children – how much do you think temperament plays a part in their eating habits?

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

WANT LESS STRESSFUL MEALTIMES? WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR FUSSY EATER?

(This article was originally posted on the Mother Tribe blog on 22.04.17) A doctorate in child development and years of working with children and families did not prepare me for the sheer frustration and stress of feeding my own family. Three different children with...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to...
Read More

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO MAKE FOOD MORE EXCITING & TRY SPECIAL RECIPES

You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
Read More

HERE’S HOW MANY EASTER EGGS I LET MY KIDS EAT..

When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)...and they do it anyway. And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each. THIS I find mega frustrating. And...
Read More

INSISTING ON ‘TASTING’ IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PICKY EATING

Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you. And then instead of saying, "Here, help yourself!" I said, "Look at this yummy food I've got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I'll give you a...
Read More

WHEN THEY DON’T EAT WHAT YOU KNOW THEY LIKE…

"But you LOVE chicken and rice! Here, have some chicken and rice!" "Don't like chicken and rice." "Yes you DO, you ate a whole bowlful the other day!" Do you ever find yourself having this sort of crazy-making conversation with your toddler or child? You kind of know...
Read More

MY JOURNEY TO FUSS-FREE EATING

I think even as a very young child I knew deep down that being ‘forced’ to eat and rigid mealtime rules just weren't right. I remember sitting at the dining table feeling so confused; I wasn't particular hungry, I'd eaten all the ‘nice’ bits on my plate, and just the...
Read More

HOW TO HANDLE “I HATE YOU MUMMY!”

Hearing these words for the first time from your sweet, innocent ‘baby’ is pretty gutting really.
I had asked my 7-year-old to start tidying away the Lego as it was bedtime soon, and he replied, “No Mummy, I’m still building this.” I could hear he was fairly cross and passionate, and so thinking I was being quite reasonable, I said,

Read More

DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

Click here to apply

 to join my
6 week, one-to-one, Fuss-Free Eating for Life coaching programme

 

 

APPLY NOW

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a number of possible underlying causes or issues going on.

In no particular order, here are just a few that are common to encounter:

>>> ‘Supertasters’ – these children have extra sensitive taste receptors and so they experience food in a very intense way.

>>> Emotional issues – stored up, unexpressed feelings from difficult experiences in the past that have become projected onto particular food or smells

>>> Cautious or highly sensitive temperament – these children may take even longer than the suggested typical number of exposures to new food before they even contemplate tasting it

>>> Extreme food aversions and fear of food that are due to underlying medical/neurological issues

>>> Resistance – to being over-controlled or coerced into following a strict routine or regime that does not suit their internal rhythm and needs.

>>> Indifference to food, tastes, and eating – these children appear to be pretty unbothered about all types of food.

So just from this short list you can see that it’s really not about ‘solving’ one specific problem, nor are these issues necessarily easily addressed simply by things like ‘increasing connection’ or ‘introducing a strict schedule’. In fact, I have spoken to lots of Mamas who feel quite despairing after trying to implement this kind of advice and find it doesn’t seem to make much difference.

Which is why it’s very important to me to really dive deep into all aspects of the child and their environment and experiences when I first start to work with a family.

And when suggesting changes, I find practical implications very important to bear in mind too. For example, one popular suggestion for easing mealtime stress is to spend at least 10 minutes of one-to-one time with your child before each meal.

Yes, sounds good theoretically, I know that strengthening connection in this way is often amazingly beneficial. But in reality?? This is seriously supposed to be possible??

What if you are by yourself, trying to also MAKE dinner, and happen to also have more than one child? If you can do this, I take my hat off to you, you truly are a supermum. But please be reassured I will NEVER suggest things like this to you – I’m here to HELP you, not ADD to your to-do-list and stress levels!!

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

WANT LESS STRESSFUL MEALTIMES? WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR FUSSY EATER?

(This article was originally posted on the Mother Tribe blog on 22.04.17) A doctorate in child development and years of working with children and families did not prepare me for the sheer frustration and stress of feeding my own family. Three different children with...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to...
Read More

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO MAKE FOOD MORE EXCITING & TRY SPECIAL RECIPES

You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
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DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

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HERE’S HOW MANY EASTER EGGS I LET MY KIDS EAT..



mumsnet

When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)…and they do it anyway.

And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each.

THIS I find mega frustrating.

And although I know the intention was absolutely harmless and from a place of love, it’s STILL pretty irksome!

And it leaves me in a tricky situation.

Because if my children are gifted chocolate, if it is something that belongs to them, my view is that the only logical, respectful approach is for THEM to decide when they will eat it and how much they will eat.

Because look, if I gifted YOU a beautiful Easter egg or a box of your favourite chocolates and then followed it up with…”You can only have ONE now…I’m going to put the rest away in the cupboard for when I DECIDE you can another one”…let’s face it, it’d be a pretty disappointingly naff present.

The implication would be that it wasn’t REALLY a present for you, that I didn’t really honour the choices you make about what you put in your body, and I definitely didn’t TRUST you. In a nutshell, it’d be disrespectful and controlling.

Why then should it be any different for children?

But although I strongly oppose controlling what my kids choose to put in their own mouth, I DO believe that our job as parents is to control the environment our kids are exposed to.

So, in other words, it’s our choice whether we have masses of junk and chocolate in our cupboards for our kids to access OR a range of freely available relatively healthy snacks. It’s our choice whether the ‘Easter bunny’ brings a massive bucketful of eggs OR a few small ones and a present. And it’s our choice whether we go along with the current cultural norm of excessive chocolate egg swapping OR decide to opt out of this and do things differently.

Whilst they are young and still learning about their bodies and the effect different foods have on them, it’s our responsibility to minimise them from the overwhelm of too much. Because to be honest, it’s hard enough to cope with as adults sometimes.

Of course they will have to deal with the piles of junk and confectionery we are constantly bombarded with on their own eventually. But hopefully by then they will be less vulnerable and armed with greater knowledge and experience.

 

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

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DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

Click here to apply

 to join my
6 week, one-to-one, Fuss-Free Eating for Life coaching programme

 

 

APPLY NOW

INSISTING ON ‘TASTING’ IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PICKY EATING



mumsnet

Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you.

And then instead of saying, “Here, help yourself!” I said, “Look at this yummy food I’ve got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I’ll give you a sticker!”

Aside from thinking I was plain bonkers, what else would you think?

Probably something along the lines of…well, I thought it just looked like a plate of biscuits but I’m not so sure now. There must be something pretty gross about it that I hadn’t spotted. I wasn’t that hungry anyway but I’m definitely not now.

You’d be highly suspicious, right? And immediately tag that food as something that’s likely to be horrible, something to be wary of.

And yet, this is the advice most commonly given to parents of fussy eaters.

In fact, I came across an article the other day entitled ‘Psychologists may have found the key to making kids try new foods’. It cited a recent study that had successfully used this ‘exposure’ method coupled with positive attention with two autistic children with severe food aversions.

But here’s just three of the reasons why this kind of article soo frustrates me:

>>>>The implication is that this approach based on a sample of TWO very EXTREME children is therefore applicable to ALL children. It is NOT. Unless your child has a medical condition or is losing significant weight there is absolutely no NEED to enforce a strict ‘tasting’ rule, and in fact, I strongly question the effectiveness of doing so for long-term eating habits.

>>>>Rewarding, persuading, bribing, pleading, begging, demanding that your child tastes or tries something does not ‘teach’ them to like it in the long run. Quite the opposite, in fact.

>>>>Advocating this kind of approach to ‘get’ children to eat is based on out-dated parenting methods. In my book it is just as disrespectful to use such methods with our children as it is with our friends or other adults. Children are not a sub-standard species, they have merely spent a little less time on the planet than us.

Which is why I never advise my clients to INSIST that their children ‘try’ or ‘taste’ anything.

Yes, definitely keep offering; offer as much variety as you can and have the energy for. Yes, definitely keep modelling; enjoy eating as much variety in front of your kids as you can.

But please, please, let’s stop forcing them to ‘taste’ and just let them explore and enjoy food independently and in their own good time.

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