When you realise that you might have a picker eater or a fussy eater in the house, it can be super easy to panic. Catering to the nutrition needs of your little terrors can be hard enough in the best of circumstances, but now they won’t eat anything that isn’t red? What on earth can you do? First of all, the key thing is not to lose hope. Chances are most of the bizarre or complicated dietary requests that come from your kids will be based on a fleeting experience they had or are definitely a phase that will fade away just as quickly as it arrived. That said, there are things that you can do to help manage the needs of a picky eater or fussy eater and to help prevent those tastes developing over time.
Top Fussy Eater Busting Tips
- The Trojan Horse – This involves mixing up family favourites or tried and tested recipes with something a little different. It can be a great way to sneak in more vegetables or a new spice or flavour while still remaining in your child’s comfort zone. Possible examples include switching out the chips in ‘fish and chips’ for sweet potato fries or swapping normal rice for cauliflower rice in your curry recipe.
- The Mini Chef – This is where you involve your little one in the preparation of food and try to get them excited about different flavours, shapes and ingredients. Watch their eyes light up as you explain how a dish looks before it is made or allow them to pick the ‘best’ vegetables to be used for dinner. Get them a special apron and set them a challenge to see how many different colours you can use in this recipe.
- The Great Experiment – it is so important to mix things up as much as possible to ensure your kids don’t develop a ‘stagnant’ palette. This can go for adults too by the way. Explore new recipes, visit different cultures via cuisine and try to buy at least one brand new ingredient every time you do a big shop – you could even make it a game to find the right one.
This healthier fondue recipe is a great way to use a comfort flavour (cheese) to increase their vegetable count and help them to try new tastes.
For the cheese sauce
- 500ml whole milk
- 30g slightly salted butter
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp English mustard powder
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp nutmeg (ideally freshly grated)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 100g mild cheddar, grated
- ½ loaf of sourdough bread, cubed
- Small head of broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 8 asparagus spears, trimmed
- 1 small courgette, cubed
- Handful of radishes, halved
- 2 boiled beetroots, peeled and cubed
- 4 gherkins, whole or sliced
- Put the milk, butter, garlic, mustard, pepper, nutmeg and flour into a non-stick pan over a medium heat and whisk gently for about five minutes until it thickens. Add the cheese and whisk gently for one minute until melted and smooth. Allow to cool so that it is safe for children to touch, then pour into a bowl.
- Serve with the bread, vegetables and tongs or forks to help with dipping. If your children are reluctant to try some of the dipping items, how about making it into a sort of game? Everyone tries each item at the same time: three… two… one… taste!