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 planning, shopping for the ingredients and somehow finding the energy to cobble them together, YOUR child doesn’t eat them.
So now you have a child who not only isn’t eating the ‘normal’ range of food, s/he’s also not eating food apparently specifically designed for picky eaters!
So that feels like a double fail then – mega disheartening or what??
But please be reassured – it’s NOT your cooking skills, it’s NOT that your child purposely wants to wind you up or is being difficult, and it’s NOT that there’s anything especially wrong with your child.
Because the thing is, as well-meaning as these recipes and creative food ideas are, most of the time they are taking us in the wrong direction.
A picky eater will not eat certain foods no matter how many smiley faces you adorn it with or dinosaurs you contort it into. If a child is genuinely afraid of eating an orange, the fact that it is cut into a smile shape is not realistically going to alleviate these fears.
Similarly, if a child is genuinely not hungry or genuinely dislikes fish cakes, the fact that they are shaped as fish is really pretty irrelevant.
And even if it possibly does help a little or for a short while, the problem with focusing on these aspects is that they are not getting to the root cause of the eating issue. They’re just sticking plasters really and will pretty soon fall off and you’ll be back to square one.
I also worry that the focus on this type of information does little to prevent fussy eating from becoming a long term issue. In fact, I suspect sometimes it makes it WORSE.
Because if you’re promised a recipe that ALL children will supposedly devour, you bust a gut to make it, and are then met with a firm “YUCK I’M NOT EATING THAT”, it takes a LOT to react in a way that is helpful rather than detrimental. It’s really NOT easy to stay calm and relaxed. It’s really NOT easy to hide your disappointment and restrain yourself from force feeding it to the little rugrats or storming out in a huff.
So you see, it makes me a teensy bit frustrated; as pretty and as tasty as many of these recipes may be, they rarely truly help the picky eater or mealtime stress situation.
This is why you so don’t need to go there, honestly, it’s a waste of your precious energy and just NOT necessary.
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.
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