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Ciara Attwell, author of My Fussy Eater, with her own picky diner, her daughter Aiofe, aged seven

Author of Fussy Eater Shares Advice To Cure Picky Children

Most parents will know the pain of trying and failing to get a fussy child to eat their food - particularly when it comes to fruit and vegetables.

But now a blogger-turned-cookbook author has shared her tricks for getting any picky eater to gobble up what you give them.

Irish-born Ciara Attwell, 36, who now lives in Kent with husband Grant, 43, daughter Aoife, seven, and son Fintan, four, has shared nutritious recipes from her new book, My Fussy Eater, which is out on Thursday.

Her own daughter, Aiofe, was so fussy when she was little that Ciara set up her own food blog, also called My Fussy Eater, which tracked her journey to get her little one to eat more healthily.

Now she makes food that her own fussy children love to eat, which she's sharing with parents around the world thanks to her popular blog and new book.

She says the key to curing fussiness to get the children involved in making meals - and it could mean that you end up just cooking one meal for the whole family instead of several. 

1. RELAX

My first tip to parents is always to relax and try not to get too stressed about it. Most parents admit that they deal with fussy eating at some stage in their child’s life so you are not alone. Children can intuitively pick up on your stress and frustration so don’t let it become an issue that they know they can use against you.

 

2. SLOW INTRODUCTIONS

Recent research has shown that a child may have to be offered a new food up to 20 times before they will accept it and eat it. That might seem a bit daunting but start by introducing foods in really easy ways. For example, if you really want your child to start eating broccoli, firstly have it on the dinner table regularly. Let them see it and let them see you eating it.

Next encourage them to try just a very small amount, making it clear that if they don’t like it then they don’t have to have any more. Slowly over time you may be able to get them to eat a little bit more so keep persevering.

 

3. BE CAREFUL OF PORTIONS

Ciara's lunchboxes for her children are always vibrant, and super healthy. Clockwise from top left, she fills them with: a turkey salad wrap with lettuce, tomato, a piece of cheese, fruit and strawberry banana bread; sausage skewer with tomatoes, garlic and herb breadsticks, dip, chopped veggies, fruit and a raspberry chia crumble square; ham and cheese in lettuce with tortilla crisps, houmous, chopped veggies, and a handful of popcorn; and cheesy chicken fritters with fruit, chopped veggies, peppers filled with cream cheese and a cranberry and coconut cookie

Parents have a tendency to want to fill up kids with as much food as possible. Be careful about portion sizes, particularly for younger children and toddlers, as their stomach really are quite small. Large plates of food can also appear overwhelming so start with small portions, especially with foods that they might be unfamiliar with. You can always add more food.

 

4. GET THEM INVOLVED

Get the kids into the kitchen making food with you, and I don’t just mean baking cakes and cookies but the day-to-day food preparation and cooking that happens at home. For toddlers it can be as simple as allowing them to choose which vegetables you cook for dinner or helping to make a sandwich. The older your child is, the more responsibility you can give them in the kitchen but any kind of involvement is sure to make them more interested in the food when it actually reaches the table.

 

5. MAKE IT FUN

Meal times can be a little dull for children so try injecting a bit of fun into it. My kids love bright and colourful plates and cutlery. Snack plates are also fantastic as they can encourage children to eat a variety of fruit and veg along with a small sweet treat. 

 

We found this super helpful article here

Enjoyed this read? Try "Fun food tips and activities from fussy food expert Lucy Thomas"

 

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