Looking back, I think we were pretty lucky. Freya was never a fussy toddler and, at the age of seven, she eats pretty much anything. In fact, her favourite food is moules mariniere! Her sister, on the other hand, has proven to be a very different customer entirely.
When it comes to fussy eating, each day is a new adventure. What Effie will devour with gusto one day she’ll turn her nose up at the next. This is a new phase – and I know it’s just that, a phase. But when you’ve slaved for half an hour over a delicious home-cooked meal from scratch it’s hard not to take it personally when your tot takes one look at it, screws up her nose and says, “UGH! That GUSTING!”.
Having never gone through this first time around I’ve honestly been at a loss as to what to do some days. The thing that’s really helped, though, is to know that if she’s genuinely hungry she will eat. And to remind myself of the basic Baby-led weaning principles we followed in those early days, when we trusted our baby to eat what she needed and to have fun with food.
With this in mind, we’ve been getting back into the mindset of food being fun, involving Effie as much as possible with the preparation of food and encouraging her to help pick it if a meal includes veg from the garden. I’ve made a real effort to make food look fun, too. Something I’ve not done in a while.
Another thing I’ve tried is eating in different places. Sounds bizarre, but if I take a cheese sandwich to the park or for a walk, she’s far more likely to actually eat it than if I present her with one while she’s sitting at the dining table!
Has all this helped? Well, yes and no. I’d be lying if I said there was a magic cure to fussy eating. And I really do think so much of what Effie will eat on any given day depends on what kind of mood she’s in. But it’s definitely helped remind me that food shouldn’t be a battleground. It never has been in our family and I don’t want that to begin here.
If you’re currently going through a fussy eating phase then know you’re not alone and watch this Day In The Life video from my birthday at the beginning of October to see how frustrated the whole phase has made at times:
A few weeks on and, again, some days we’re luckier than others. We don’t make Effie different food but we do make sure she’s not filled up on snacks right before tea. Eating together as a family also seems to help (sometimes!), as does taking a relaxed approach and knowing when to simply cut our losses and give in. Some days Effie isn’t going to want to eat a full plate of autumn casserole, for example, and that’s OK.
For more tips from someone who knows more about this subject than I do, here’s the Organix children’s food expert Lucy Thomas with some fun activities to help your tot get interested in eating again:
Thanks to Organix for working with me on this post. I’m an ambassador for the brand as part of the #NoJunkJourney campaign. To find out more about ways I work with brands check out my Work With Me page here. To see other posts in the Organix No Junk series click on the titles below:
No junk playdates and guilt-free toddler treats
Snack saviours and a little confession
The secret ingredients to the perfect family picnic
Healthy party food and a toddler tea party
The reality of cooking with kids
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