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Helping fussy eaters enjoy a variety of food.

Helping fussy eaters enjoy a variety of food.

January 11, 2024

Helping fussy eaters enjoy a variety of food.

As a mother of four and grandmother of seven, I have faced my share of challenges when trying to get kids to eat a healthy meal, or sometimes to eat anything!

This week, we took two of our granddaughters, Amelia 9 and Ivie 7, to the beach for a few days. It was a good reminder that dealing with a fussy eater in the family can be challenging, but there are effective strategies to encourage more varied eating habits in children. Here is how you can gently guide your child towards a more diverse palette:

  1. Introduce New Foods Gradually : Add small portions of new foods alongside their favourites. This gradual introduction can reduce resistance.
  2. Get Creative in the Kitchen : Sometimes, the presentation can make all the difference. Making food fun, like creating smiley faces with vegetables, can encourage children to try new things.
  3. Involve Your Child in Food Preparation : Kids are often more interested in eating something they helped make. Simple tasks like washing vegetables or stirring can be exciting for them.
  4. Avoid Pressure or Bribery : Forcing children to eat can create negative associations with food. Instead, encourage them gently without making a big deal if they refuse.
  5. Be a Role Model : Children learn by example. Eating a variety of foods yourself can encourage them to do the same.
  6. Regular Meal and Snack Times : Consistent meal and snack times create a routine that can help manage hunger and reduce fussiness.
  7. Understand Their Preferences : Pay attention to the textures or flavours your child prefers. This understanding can guide you in preparing foods they are more likely to enjoy.
  8. Patience is Key : Changing eating habits takes time. Be patient and celebrate small victories.


Remember, every child is unique, so what works for one may not work for another. It's about finding the right balance for your child while ensuring they get the nutrition they need.


I based my tips on the study "A Family-Centered Positive Behavior Support Approach to the Amelioration of Food Refusal Behavior." Lauren Binnendyk and Joseph M. Lucyshyn University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Here are some great Australian resources and references to help families with fussy eaters.

Raising Children Network ( ): Provides comprehensive, practical, expert child health and parenting information and activities covering children aged 0-15 years.

Healthy Kids Association ( : Offers information on healthy eating for kids and families, including resources on fussy eating.

Better Health Channel ( ): Offers health and medical information that is quality assured, reliable, and trustworthy.

Eat For Health ( ): Provides advice about the amount and kinds of foods that we need to eat for health and wellbeing.

The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne ( ): Offers health advice on various child health issues, including nutrition and fussy eating.


Barbara Lightburn

Director - My Ability Pathway



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