Picky Eating: What Teachers and Parents SHOULD Know

by Claire Minnaar


I recently wrote about Fussy Eaters and their Supplementation because as you may already know, my kids are extremely fussy eaters. But, you may be a Mom who does NOT have a fussy eater, but you do have days or times here and there where your child refuses to eat or refuses to eat certain foods or food groups. When dealing with fussiness and, in some cases, tantrums as a result of children not wanting to eat food you would like them to eat, one hopes the child is just going through one of those “phases”, but this may not always be the case.

So, how do you KNOW you have a so-called Fussy Eater?

First off, the obvious indications of a picky / fussy eater include:

  • Refusing to eat
  • Eating less than usual
  • Dislike for vegetables, fruit, meat or milk
  • Demanding the same food at every meal
  • Preferring ‘junk food’ to healthy food
  • Throwing tantrums at mealtimes

These behaviours can surprise and trouble parents who want to ensure healthy eating habits!

And rightly so, since picky eating may cause the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Stunted growth
  • Lack of vital nutrients
  • Greater risk of infection
  • Failure to thrive with poor cognitive development
  • Learning disabilities
  • Developmental delays

Tips on Raising a Child that EATS WELL

There are ways to teach children healthy eating habits that will last them a lifetime and it requires diligence, patience and dedication on your part.

Here are the top tips to promoting and teaching healthy eating habits:

  • Manage mealtimes by establishing set meal and snack times.
  • Help your child to choose healthy foods by making the right foods available to them.
  • Make mealtime family time by letting all family members sit together and eat the same meals.
  • Avoid television and other distractions that may lead to a disinterest in food.
  • Learn to understand your child’s hunger signals.
  • Consistently offer new healthy foods but introduce one new food at a time instead of serving a completely new meal.
  • Serve small portion sizes when introducing new foods and gradually move on to bigger portions.
  • Resist the urge to give your child sweets and fried foods to encourage them to eat.
  • Look for fun, creative ways to educate your child about the benefits of healthy eating and an active lifestyle.
  • Encourage self-respect and self-acceptance and never criticize your child’s body type.

An example that has worked for me is when my kids eat something that is GOOD and HEALTHY for them, they have to show me their muscles. So, they flex their arm and I feel their “muscles”. It makes them feel good and definitely encourages them to eat a little more so their ‘muscles’ grow a little bigger.

By following these steps and setting a good example when it comes to their own eating habits, parents can ensure that children enjoy a stress-free relationship with food over the long-term!

More Info


This post is sponsored by PediaSure®Complete. The comments on this page do not constitute medical advice. Your healthcare professional is best placed to evaluate your child’s growth and development. Should you have any concerns or questions, please seek advice from your healthcare professional? For product-related questions, contact the Abbott Nutrition Support Line on 0861 22 68 87.

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