Your health:

Our fussy eater

Although Ben appears perfectly healthy and very full of beans, the truth is that he's living on a pretty restricted diet, especially when it comes to protein. Fortunately he's great at eating fruit, fairly good at vegetables, and excellent when it comes to anything "treaty" like biscuits, cake and ice-cream. But he's almost entirely a self-imposed vegetarian (not that he'd understand the concept yet!) and will only eat protein in the form of cheese, yoghurt or nuts.

Putting it like that, things don't seem too bad. Except it's a bit inconvenient and embarrassing when the other children are eating normal meals like sandwiches, pasta, sausages, fish fingers, baked beans, scrambled egg... you get the idea!

The NHS Choices webpage on fussy eaters tells parents like me that: "As long as your child is active and gaining weight, and it's obvious they're not ill, then they're getting enough to eat, even if it may not seem like it to you.

"It's perfectly normal for toddlers to refuse to eat or even taste new foods," it adds. The advice on widening their repertoire is to gradually introduce new or previously-rejected foods, and eat a wide range of foods yourself so they (hopefully) want to copy you. It also advises to eat with your fussy toddler as often as possible and make mealtimes fun, which we try to do.

We've previously had some success using bribery - funnily enough he may accept a bite of meat or fish if we promise a trip to the toy shop, but then forgets all about the toy shop in the midst of all the praise he receives! Though that's not going to keep working forever. Strangely he'll often try new things when Granny is here and I'm not. Hmmm, maybe there is a bit of a power struggle going on behind the fish finger refusal!

by Kate Richards
NHS Choices advice on fussy eaters

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