Little ones can sometimes be fussy when it comes to what they eat. But don't worry. Whether they're rejecting foods they previously liked, or are refusing to try anything new, it's completely normal!

Take a peek as nutritionist Claire shares her top 10 tips for fussy little eaters.

Grow your own Little Veg Lover

Little ones are born with a preference for sweet foods and are naturally less keen on more bitter tasting foods like green vegetables.

Research shows that introducing single veggie tastes early on in weaning and throughout the weaning journey, gets tiny taste buds used to savoury flavours, helping them grow into a Little Veg Lover for life!

Did you know, it can take up to 8 tiny tries (and up to 12 tries after 12 months) until your little one learns to accept a new food, so keep trying!

Fussy Eaters article

Fussy eating is not your fault

Even if you’ve introduced plenty of veggies and a variety of other foods frequently throughout the weaning journey, and offered them plenty of times so your baby can learn to accept them, they can still have a fussy phase as a toddler.

It’s reeeally common but don't worry, it's a phase and there's lots of top tips + handy tricks you can try to encourage your little one to eat a variety of yummy food.

It’s thought that pickiness emerges around the age of 18m as it’s a time when toddlers are exploring the world and putting lots of things into their mouth so being fearful of new foods helps them avoid anything that might be poisonous.

While that’s not so much a risk today, it may have been in our evolutionary past

Top 10 tips for fussy eaters

  1. Stay calm. If you’re stressed, your toddler may pick up on it and maybe even mirror how you're feeling and feel even less keen on eating. Take a deep breath and try to stay calm - remember, it can take up to 12 tries for a toddler to learn to accept a food.
  2. Eat with your little one. Little ones LOVE to copy you! The more you can show your picky toddler that you enjoy ALL of the foods you eat, the more likely they will be to give them a try too.
  3. All foods are equal. Don’t make a big fuss over how yummy vegetables are. Your toddler will get suspicious, especially if you act neutrally around all other foods and especially if you offer sweet treats as a reward for eating veg. Just treat all foods in a neutral way where no one food is better than another.
  4. Take your pick! You decide what to feed your toddler and when but it's up to them to decide how much they eat of each food offered Give your little one lots of variety and, if you give them a food they don’t like or want, let them pick it up and put it on a side plate. That way, they still get to interact with the food which helps them become more familiar with it and, in time, more likely to try it.
  5. Keep trying. When you have a fussy eater, it can take 12 to 15 experiences of a rejected food before it is accepted. Keep popping that food on the plate but never pressurise your little one to eat it.
  6. Make food a fun, sensory experience. Allowing little ones to explore food with all their senses, particularly outside of mealtimes where there’s no pressure to eat, can help them feel more familiar with foods and then when it comes to eating, they may be more likely to give them a try. Let them play with whole vegetables and fruit before cutting them open to show them how different they look inside (avocado and kiwi are great examples), get crafty + paint with veggies or make some foodie maracas using dried pasta and pulses! There are lots more easy sensory games + activities you can try at home.
  7. Shop together. Get little helpers to find all the vegetables you need in the supermarket. Show them where to find the broccoli trees and pointy carrots so they can feel more involved in the food you buy.
  8. Little chefs. Let little ones help you cook, even if it’s something as simple as popping some chopped veg into a pan or stirring ingredients together. The more you involve your toddler in the whole cooking experience, the more likely they are to want to eat and try it at mealtimes!
  9. This or that? Let toddlers have a (limited) choice over what goes on their plate but what’s on offer is up to you. For example, offer two or three vegetables and your toddler gets to choose which ones go on the plate, although they still don’t have to eat them once they’re there.
  10. Have fun! Having a picky eater is stressful but try to keep mealtimes light-hearted and play games with food to make it a fun experience rather than a battleground. Here are some of our top foodie fun recipes:

Yummy recipes to try

Did you know we have over 100 quick + easy recipes for you + your little one to make at home! From very first tastes all the way to the big table, there's something yummy for the whole family to enjoy – including fussy little eaters!

Take a peek and get cooking!

Lots of our recipes include top tips on how to engage the senses or get your little one involved + having fun when cooking…enjoy!

Claire award avatar

Claire Baseley

Infant nutritionist / Makes Ella's Good

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