There are quite a few things that parents worry about when they have a challenging eater. Here are some of the most common things that might be leaving you feeling like you’re the only one…
What you’re going through is not unusual for the families of children with food aversions. If you feel you would like some support, a place to vent or somewhere to be able to share those little steps forward, come and join the Little Bites Facebook Group.
“He would rather go hungry than eat something new”.
That’s totally normal in children with food aversions. The fear and anxiety around new food are stronger than their hunger. Leaving a child with extreme food aversions or anxieties around food to “eat it or starve” or force-feeding strengthens their belief that trying new food is a stressful time. Children need positive experiences with food to be able to willingly try next time they’re offered something. Here are some more tips on how to do it!
“She lives on cookies and chips… I’m embarrassed about how limited her diet is”
I have seen it all, if you weren’t concerned about it you wouldn’t be contacting me. You’re here to make improvements and that’s all that matters. I can support you through the different steps they need to take to expand their diet, introduce new food and food groups to their daily diet.
“My older kids eat everything – the family has a very healthy diet”
A lot of people still believe that kids with self-restricted diets are just being “fussy”, that they must be choosing to eat certain unhealthy food. It’s a common belief that it may even be the way they’ve been brought up. This is NOT how it works with challenging eaters! The challenging eaters I work with have food aversions which means they have actually developed a fear or extreme anxiety around food, trying a new food or certain textures. The best way to overcome this is to go SLOWLY! The more you put on pressure, the more they will resist. There’s nothing that puts a child off trying new food than being pushed too fast.
“His siblings are starting to copy his eating behaviours”
Little Bites can work with you, not only for your challenging eater but also for their siblings. We can get their eating back on track before their eating becomes as extreme as your challenging eater’s. Check out these tips and book a free initial consultation to get you started.
“We’ve kind of given up offering any new food, it never gets eaten.”
It can be so frustrating when progress is slow, but progress is progress. When you start to feel like it’s not fast enough, have a look at an old food diary – then look at what your child eats now. Do they eat a piece of fruit and 3 peas a day more? That’s 7 pieces of fruit and 21 peas more a week than they had before! It all adds up and makes for a healthier diet long-term.
You are setting up healthy habits and getting your challenging eater to learn to overcome their food aversions and anxiety around food. It’s OK to take a short break but don’t give up! Once they’re eating a little bit you can bump up the amount each week to really build up their health and nutrition. Each new food they try helps them realise that trying new food isn’t that bad. Every time you offer something you move slightly closer to a healthy, varied diet. When you stop for a while that can impact their eating and willingness to try new food. You do not want to start over because you had too long a break too soon!