Fussy Eating


It is natural for you to worry when your child refuses to eat sometimes. However, the good news is that it is important to consider what your child eats in a week rather than what your child ate in a day. Always remember that as long as your child is active and gaining weight, they are eating enough. Usually, your child will learn to eat and like new foods by copying you (so you have no excuse not to eat broccoli or “karela” anymore!).

Provide your child some food from the 4 main food groups
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Starchy foods
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Protein

Meal times don’t need to become a battle. Here are some simple tips for parents of a fussy eater:

Include healthy elements in foods – Use healthy elements in the food that your child already likes. For e.g., add shredded veggies over rice, or sneak in a few fruit slices over a favourite cereal.

Don’t always insist on the “clean your plate” rule – It always hurts to see kids leave food on the plate. But also realize that kids know when they are full, so let them stop when they want to.

Avoid too much snacking – Excessive snacking between meals is not helpful —restrict it to milk or some fruit slices.

Do not use food as a reward – Using chocolates as a reward can make your child perceive vegetables to be nasty. Instead, reward them with a trip to the park. 

Avoid eating unhealthy foods – The chips and cookies might seem very tempting to your kids. But if you avoid keeping these unhealthy treats at home, sooner or later, your kids will get used to munching a carrot or a fruit when they get hungry.

Serve small portions – Serving small portions to your kid and praising them when they finish it is great encouragement for them. This will also ensure food will not get wasted, as we discussed earlier.

Avoid the television – Watching television while eating can distract your child and make them feel full, because they will be too engrossed watching the show. Instead, eat as a family — meals times are a great time to bond and catch up.

Do not completely cut out the goodies – Avoiding unhealthy foods does not really mean eliminating them completely from your kid’s diet. Moderation is actually the key to maintain the balance.

  1. National Health Service (NHS). Fussy eaters. Last reviewed: 7/5/2015. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/fussy-eaters.aspx. As accessed on: 20/4/2016.
  2. American Heart Association (AHA). Available from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/HowtoMakeaHealthyHome/Top-10-Tips-for-Dealing-With-a-Picky-Eater_UCM_303811_Article.jsp#.VxddQdR97IX. As accessed on: 20/4/2016.