Helping Fussy Eaters become Food Explorers

September 26, 2016

Paediatric Dietitian Ana-Kristina Skrapac

I meet many parents who feel like mealtimes have become a battleground, and struggle with their child’s fussy eater behaviours. Picky eating in children is common and is often seen to peak in toddler years.

So, what makes a child fussy around food? What should you be mindful of? How can you help children become food explorers?

What causes children to be fussy eaters?

It is common for toddlers to go through a picky eating phase, which can make it difficult to introduce new foods. Picky eaters may refuse to eat foods that are familiar to them, or may be reluctant to try new foods1, 2.

There are certain factors to consider which may increase the likelihood of fussy eating such as early life factors, pressure to eat, personality factors, parental practices or feeding styles and social influences3, 4. Parents need to be mindful of these influences and how they may affect a child’s readiness or reluctance to eat.

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