Where to start to change your child’s diet

child stopped eating

If you try and change your challenging eater’s whole diet at once without teaching them to try new food first, you’re much less likely to have long term success. Little Bites shows you how to get your child tasting and trying new food first, as well as how to integrate these new foods into their daily diet! There are simple, easy to follow steps to walk you through the whole process!

Why changing everything at once doesn’t work

If you have a challenging eater, there will be food fears – whether it’s textures, fear of the unknown or a build up of anxiety about how stressful mealtimes have become. Taking away all their “safe” foods, forcing them to eat everything on their plate – all new foods – will overwhelm them, make the resent new food and increase the anxiety your child feels around new food.

The crying, gagging, running away and refusing to even try something new can be so frustrating, but what they show us is how strong your child’s aversion is. Take small steps to help them overcome their fears. Slow, steady progress will help change your child’s attitude towards food forever, not just until you stop forcing them to eat healthier food. I have so many clients who come back to me and tell me their child is ASKING to try a new type of food, is happy to eat the new foods in their daily diet, is eating their veggies BEFORE their cookies!

The key is not to ban all their favourites, it’s to help them overcome their fears and change their attitude so they want to try new food, make healthier choices and build great habits that will last their lifetime!

Check out some testimonials here and click here to find out if Little Bites is right for your challenging eater. You can book a free initial consultation here to find out how Little Bites can help your challenging eater.

Seasonal Foods and ‘Picky’ Eaters.

Sometimes things happen in life to make our challenging eaters eat even less! Maybe they’ve been making great progress but since last year they’ve dropped all those seasonal foods they had started to eat (or at least taste!)  It can be so frustrating (especially when their list of healthy food they happily eat is already small) but Little Bites is here to help you understand why it happens and what you can do to help.

Here’s why that could be happening and how to deal with it.

Why does it happen?

They’ve not eaten or even seen the food for a long time, this especially has an impact on younger kids, those long months since it was in season is a huge portion of their life and a lot has happened since then!

What can you do about it?

  1. Freeze some while there’s a lot around! Obviously, this has to be something that freezes well. Just a little bit every so often will keep it in your child’s diet.
  2. Make sure they have it regularly when it is in season. They will be more likely to recognise it as something they liked if they remember eating it a lot.
  3. Show them photos or videos of them enjoying the food last season. Kids love to see photos of themselves and it will be proof they did actually like that food before.
  4. Use Little Bites strategies to get your child feeling comfortable tasting new food. If they loved it last year and happily try it again this year, that seasonal food will be back in their diet before you know it.

To book to get your child’s individual eating plan click here.

Rejecting food they ate before


This week you voted to find out more about why your child starts to reject those foods they’ve always eaten, or become more “picky”. Sometimes things happen in life to make our challenging eaters eat even less! Maybe they’ve been making great progress but suddenly stopped eating the food you’ve been working on, or maybe they’re dropping food that you rely on to give them some nutrients. It can be so frustrating (especially when their list of food they eat is already small) but Little Bites is here to help you understand why it happens and what you can do to help.

Here’s why that could be happening and how to deal with it.

They’re bored of the same food every day

This is a massive problem for those kids who struggle to try new food. They become bored of the same food every day but can’t replace it with anything else so they eat less variety. Eventually, parents are stuck with a couple of fruits, vegetables and meats or dinners they can serve up. Little Bites strategies are perfect for those kids who would love to have a sleepover and eat the same as their friends, go to school camp without any problems with food or just like to be able to eat like everyone else. Older children especially, start to get bored with the same food every day, but they are stuck in a rut when it comes to tasting food.

Always have new, healthy food available to them, Little Bites steps are slow, relaxed and give you the support to  introduce new foods into your child’s diet so they don’t become bored of the food they’re eating. Every child is different so if your child has stopped eating certain food groups or only has a handful of foods you feel give them the nutrition they need, get in touch to see how Little Bites can help.


Sometimes we’re super busy at work, we move house, we have a holiday, they get sick, change classes or schools… When something big comes up we often stop working on their diet or the child has a bit of a regression and stops eating as much due to these changes, that is normal. I tell many people that if there’s a day when you’re stressed and rushed, take a little break to make sure that trying new food doesn’t become a negative experience. It’s got to be something your child grows to enjoy and become motivated by. We’re all about changing attitudes towards food, not force feeding so trying new food needs to be fun and relaxed.


If you need a little break while you move house or write lots of reports at work or are away on holiday that’s absolutely fine, just remember to get back to it as soon as you can because consistency is key. The more you do it, the easier and quicker it will become. Soon your child will be eating a much bigger range of food!  Check out the testimonials to see what changes you can expect.


Clients tell me “you’ve made me feel so much better” when I tell them how Little Bites works. Little Bites uses small steps and little bites to gradually develop tastes for new food in a way that long-lasting changes to diets. It’s not an instant fix but many of my clients see those little changes happening very quickly. Get in touch to discuss your challenging eater and find out how Little Bites can help your family make meal times stress-free and happy.

6 things you should NEVER say to a challenging eater

not to say

There are some things that will just reinforce your child’s attitude that new food is the devil! After all, how we talk to kids about food becomes their inner voice. Here are some things you should never say to your challenging eater and why!


  • “EW!” or “really?!”

When your challenging eater asks to try something new you may be massively surprised but DON’T react with disgust or surprise; your reaction could change their expectaions (and make them think it won’t be nice) or make them feel under pressure (which will increase that mental block that we’re trying to overcome).

  • Just 1 cookie, dinner’s almost ready!

All kids are guilty of sneaking into the kitchen and trying to eat as much as possible before dinner. “Just a bit of fruit/cup of milk/one biscuit!” Yes, they’re hungry but that’s why you’re making dinner and if they eat now they won’t be hungry for whatever you’re busy slaving over. If they fill up on milk/juice/fruit or anything else the chance of them even tasting something new drops right down.

OK, so I actually suggest to clients that when their child is climbing the cupboards before dinner was a good time to try out their strategies but he’s not going to overload on his new healthy food… and if he does I don’t think his mum will be complaining!

  • “Finish what’s on your plate”

This sounds perfectly reasonable but often parents put portions that are too big for kids little tummies. How often have you been in a restaurant and had a massive portion and you finish it even though you’re forcing it down by the end? That’s because a lot of us still listen to that little voice saying “finish what’s on your plate.”

It’s better for kids to listen to their stomachs about when to stop eating and then sit at the table until everyone else is full up too. It’s better to avoid a battle of wills at dinner time and get them to help serve up their own portion, making sure that they have a little bit of what you want them to eat. That way they get to finish more often due to smaller portion sizes and you can always ask if they want more of anything. They’ll feel a bigger sense of achievement and you will be happier too.

  • “You’ll like it”

You can’t guanrantee that – a child needs to try new food over 10 times before their taste buds decide whether or not they like something. If you promise them they’ll like it straight away you’re setting yourselves up to fail. Also it’s important to keep them trying little tiny tastes until they get used to the tastes and textures instead of giving up at the first nibble. If you’d like to find out more about how Little Bites does this book a free initial consultation here.

  • “No pudding until you’ve finished your vegetables”

I prefer “if you’re still hungry you still have food there, if you’re full you won’t be needing pudding”.  If you bribe them with lollies and ice cream you’re effectively teaching that they need to eat the “yuck” food before they get the “yum” food. That reinforces the expectations they have (that it’s going to be disgusting) and they won’t grow to like it. As soon as you run out of ice cream they’ll stop eating the balanced diet. Just make sure you’re giving them a manageable amount  – not too much to start!

  • “Just eat it”

I often get clients who tell me that their children are really enthusiatic cooking dinner togethehr, promising they’ll try something new… then dinner time rolls around and it all changes! This is because while a lot of children would like to be able to eat new food they have to change their mindset first. They just need that bit of help to overcome it and that’s one of the things that Little Bites can help with! Making a child feel forced will increase anxiety and that will not let them enjoy the food. It will give them negative associations with trying food and they could become even more determined not to try it next time! Relax, follow your Little Bites steps and meal times will automatically become more fun and stress-free! Check out these testimonials to see how other families have overcome their food battles.

Kids in the kitchen

food aversions

A lot of children struggle with food aversions. “Fussy” or challenging eating is very common in younger toddlers but a quarter of children struggle to grow out of it.


In today’s busy society we often hurry to get food on the table, pouches or jars of baby food are easier and kids eat earlier than their parents. They aren’t getting as much exposure to food and cooking as we used to. Exposure to food is so important. If children don’t get a chance to explore food, they are less likely to eat it and more likely to develop food aversions.


One way to get kids comfortable around food and eventually eating more is by getting them cooking, it helps them to overcome textural issues, food aversions and sensory overload when it comes to actually eat the food. Start small, give them a spoon and get them to mix, then get them to do a bit of touching the food: push it off the chopping board into the pan etc. Work your way up to peeling food and supervised grating and chopping with a child-safe knife.


Cooking with you gives your child control – it gives them the chance to choose what shape the vegetables are (sticks, slices or even grated), whether they’re eaten raw and crunchy or cooked and soft. Giving these options and exposure to different foods and the way they are cooked and prepared can make a massive difference to your challenging eater, it gives them a chance to explore and try food textures that otherwise they might not have had. Never assume your child won’t eat something: have something new available to try as often as possible because consistency is key and this is a fantastic opportunity to offer new food in new ways in a positive and low-key way. I love hearing back from clients who tell me their child is starting to ask to try new food. You can read some of the testimonials here.


Cooking can also be fun, a big adventure of littlies – who doesn’t love being trusted enough to cut food or use one of the appliances like a chopper, blender or anything else with a button!  During my time both working with children, and as a parent of two young children, I have seen the biggest changes in those who start helping prepare food. I noticed that the children began to really enjoy preparing food, grating carrots and cheese, peeling potatoes and carrots, opening cans, stirring and chopping food… What a fantastic first step! Soon they felt more comfortable around the food and ready to start tasting it.


It’s also a great way to introduce single food to children who become anxious about “mixed” food as they can see exactly what’s in it and can try the different foods one at a time. If they try and like one food, keep a bit seperate for them until they’re happier to eat mixed up food.

Force feeding and other strategies that don’t work

severely restricted diet

Most children have stopped being so “fussy” by age 5 – however a quarter of children need support to overcome their food aversions and they can survive on a severely restricted diet until their teens or even through adulthood.

Everyone has a few foods they avoid for different reasons – the texture, smell, taste or associations from childhood. Things that can affect challenging eaters can be sickness or reflux in childhood – putting them off textures, certain foods, or even the thought of eating. The fear of eating can develop into a phobia which can be made worse by well-meaning parents and carers who attempt to force feed or starve their child into eating a food rather than making the food accessible and mealtimes relaxed. Introducing new food gradually, consistently and gently is much more effective and that’s why Little Bites strategies are so effective.

Strategies that can affect challenging eaters negatively:


  • Eat it or starve

A lot of my clients tell me they’ve tried eat it or starve and all that happened was that the child lost a lot of weight. This is common with children with food aversions and a severely restricted diet as the fear of trying a new food seems worse to them than the hunger. The feelings ‘eat it or starve’ can bring up can actually put the child off trying more food in the future.


  • Sit there until you’ve finished what’s on your plate

This standoff usually happens around dinner time, although I’ve heard of childcare staff using this strategy. Usually, all that happens is that the child becomes overwhelmed and upset and resents trying new food, learning that new food is something stressful and to be feared. When this is carried out at dinner, kids either go to bed hungry, upset and resentful and the parents go to bed wracked with guilt!


  • bargain with/bribe them: get kids eating vegetables, dinner and healthy food and loving it!

If you bribe them with lollies and ice cream you’re effectively teaching that they need to eat the “yuck” food before they get the “yum” food. For kids with a severely restricted diet, that reinforces the expectations they have (that it’s going to be disgusting) and they won’t grow to like it. As soon as you run out of ice cream they’ll stop eating the balanced diet. Little Bites helps to form good healthy eating habits in a fun and motivating way so your child gets exposure to healthy food and can learn to love it!


  • Force-feeding or yelling (or even sobbing on the kitchen floor)

Anxiety will not let them enjoy the food, it will give them negative associations with it and they could become even more determined not to try it next time! Relax, follow your Little Bites steps and meal times will automatically become more fun and stress-free! Check out these testimonials to see how other families have overcome their food battles.

HOW to get your child to eat – toddlers, ASD and sensory issues

How to get your child to eat

We’ve all heard that food for 1 is just for fun… but what if it’s always a battle instead? Dropped (or thrown) food, mess, refusal to eat – and everyone else’s child seems to be happily eating everything in sight! What if they still don’t eat at 1.. or 2… or 3… When an ASD sensory processing disorder diagnosis comes it either bowls you over or everything clicks into place – it explains so much about the WHY, but you still don’t have the information you need on HOW to get your child to eat anything nutritious!

When you have a toddler refusing to eat it’s time to take a deep breath and give control back to your child. Yes, we hate mess but exploring food is an important developmental phase for little ones. In younger children it’s the result of learning to control and coordinate food and then in older toddlers it’s for cause and effect – there is so much to explore when it comes to food (whether it’s the noise it makes or the textures… or making Mummy scream “noooooo!” as she tries to catch a falling bowl of spaghetti). Believe it or not, when toddlers play with their food it can help them to become better eaters!

Luckily there are things we can do to make meal times easier, ways to get your child to eat.
Give them their independence. Small people love being independent, taking that away can make them anxious. Let them feed themselves and they can explore their food and develop more confidence with food.

Take a step back. If you’re anxious the chance of your child picking that up is very high – even if you think you’re hiding it well. If your child sees your anxiety they’re going to think meal time is stressful and won’t be as receptive to new food. You need toddler cutlery with a choke guard if that’s something that worries you. With a choke guard, you don’t have to worry about how far in the fork goes.

Get appropriate utensils. If your child can’t hold their fork it’s going to fall and that’s going to make a mess. You want utensils to have a short, ergonomic handle that helps with motor skills and is easier to hold for babies, toddlers and those who need to strengthen their fine motor control. Grabease has a cutlery set recommended by occupational therapists as the handles actually strengthen the finger muscles that your child needs for drawing, writing and holding their toys making life easier as they meet other developmental milestones.

Give small portions and top up if they need more. Your child’s tummy is tiny and maybe that huge pile of food is really intimidating and offputting straight away! Your child might need their food to not touch each other to start. Get in touch with Little Bites for a free initial consultation and I can help you find out the first step for your child to make dinner time a stress-free and fun family time.

Involve them in cooking and baking, get the to hand you the carrot, push the chopped veggies into the pan or salad bowl. These are little steps that will start to make your child more comfortable around different food groups.

Be consistent. Giving a piece of toast because your child didn’t touch their nutritious dinner teaches them that there are other options without even trying. Follow your Little Bites strategies and have the same rules every day. Children, especially those with an Autism diagnosis, thrive on routine, knowing your expectations and having boundaries. It’s much easier for them to know what’s happening next and what’s going to happen if they try to push those boundaries.

What to do when they constantly tell you “I’m not hungry”

not hungry

There are different reasons why you hear those 3 little words you dread “I’m not hungry”. A few people have asked recently what to feed their child who is never hungry to keep them healthy and growing. Sometimes it’s tempting to give them all the chippies and biscuits they want when they do ask for food but we really need to get some nutrition into them when we get the chance.



Some medications cause loss of appetite. For these kids, we need to work on high (good) fat food to get in all the nutrition and keep them growing. With a challenging eater, this can be tricky! Have a look at my list at the bottom of the page of some great foods to feed your child who’s “not hungry”.

If you don’t know why your child is never hungry, there are a couple things to check.

Take a food diary for a week

Snacking can be a sneaky cause for loss of appetite. Sometimes kids can eat way more than we realise through snacking, especially when they help themselves – and usually they don’t choose the food we’d like them to. If they are constantly grazing but never hungry for dinner this is something to check out.

Even if they aren’t snacking a lot, maybe they’re snacking too close to meals.

Do they have a Magnesium deficiency?

If your child is never hungry and doesn’t even snack, they could have a Magnesium deficiency which can cause loss of appetite. If your child is never hungry this could be something to check.

Alternatively it could be that they’re used to eating small portions through the day as that’s what their body has got used to.

Food to help them gain/maintain weight

Try to replace refined sugar and nutritionless snacks with cubes of cheese, slices of banana and apple slices with peanut butter on.

Use full-fat milk with their cereal and to drink.

Greek yoghurt is full of good fats. Get the unsweetened one and add your own frozen berries, apple chunks, stewed fruits or honey, sprinkle oats or seed on top… (or buy the flavoured ones but they obviously have more sugar)

Porridge: protein, calcium, magnesium… there’s so much in it that’s great for you!


Peanut butter





Root vegetables

Smoothies: put in oats, banana, greek yoghurt and maybe some veggies too?

Banana pancakes: 1 mashed banana, 1 whisked egg: mix them together then fry

How to get your child to eat dinner: some tips

get your child to eat dinner

Is dinner time stressful?
Is it the same food over and over?
Is anything new uneaten?
Do you make multiple meals?
Do you worry about how much food is wasted?  Does it feel like you just can’t get your child to eat dinner?

If dinner time is stressful there are ways to turn it around. If it’s stressful for you there’s every chance it’s also stressful for your challenging eater too. Stress will make them more resistant to the foods that are being forced onto them. Here are some things to think about and some tips to get your child to eat dinner.

Does your child eat variety through the day?

If your child eats a fruit and veg filled smoothie for breakfast, carrot sticks and apple at afternoon tea and cucumber, grapes and an egg at lunch and some meat at some point through the day then you can be a little more lenient at dinner. Lots of younger children get very tired by dinner; when they start school this can get even worse.  At kindy and especially school, kids spend all day being well behaved and learning new things. Unfortunately, when they get home they are exhausted and by dinner time trying or learning something new is the last thing on their mind!

If their diet’s OK but through the day but could be better, you can squeeze some more fruits, veggies or high protein, high iron food in earlier in the day, before they burn out. If they struggle to eat healthy food at all you can book a free initial consultation with me to find out how Little Bites can help your child.

Does your child have an aversion to mixed food?

Stir fry, cottage pie, spaghetti bolognaise… Sometimes it’s much easier for challenging eaters to cope if you put the separate ingredients on their plate (not touching), and it’s not extra work for you! I actually have a client who came back to me and said that since starting our programme her son has learned how to try new food and will now try most things she offers him at dinner – as long as it’s on a separate plate. Check out what results other clients have had here.

Does your child have an aversion to certain textures?

What’s the one your child likes? There’s no point offering a crunch lover something very wet or soft if your main aim is that they eat “something healthy” at dinner time. Match it to your child’s preferences if you can. Want them to eat a carrot? Offer it raw or lightly steamed, even grated! If they love wet, liquidy food offer soup at dinner. If you do that, it’s much more likely that you’ll get your child to eat dinner.

Does your child snack through the day?

Children who snack are much less likely to eat at dinner time. They also rarely get hungry enough to try the new food that you’d love to add to their diet.

Some Tips

Do not bribe with pudding!

Bribing with other food reinforces “yummy” and “yucky” food. The minute you stop bribing, they will usually stop trying or eating new food.

Give small portions

I know you want them to eat more not less, but if you give really small portions, you’re setting your kids up for success. They can see it’s achievable. If they feel proud of themselves for finishing their 3 peas and you praise them for that it’s much better for their mindset than giving them more than they can finish and having them feel like they can never finish everything. If they finish a small amount of food and want more of something that’s fine. You can build up the amount and how often they have them once you’ve taken that first small step, and that first little bite.

Give small choices

Will we have peas or corn?

Which colour plate do you want; red or green?

Do you want this on top or beside the rice?

If you give 2 options kids can cope, if you give them too much control or too many choices they can’t cope, you’ll waste a lot of time and food and nothing will get any better. Small choices make the child feel in control but not overwhelmed, that’s really inportant when it comes to getting your child to eat dinner.

Don’t say “finish what’s on your plate”

They can finish when they’re full (but they’re full so nothing else after that unless it’s some fruit/veggie sticks or a yoghurt a couple hours later)
Kids need to listen to their body and finishing what’s on their plate, no matter how much or little is on their will set up bad habits. It’s better to give smaller amounts and then ask “do you need more of anything or are you full?”

Why has my child stopped eating?

child stopped eating

Why do they stop eating?

There are very few things your toddler or young child has control over. The big things they can control are their food, clothes and sleep… It can be so frustrating when they suddenly refuse to eat something they’ve always loved (or to sleep or get dressed!) but that’s what most kids do… they assert their control in some way. When they reach a point in their lives where they have realised that they have choices, giving them the control they are demanding is how you can get everything back on track! If you’re wondering “why has my child stopped eating?” then find out below.

Give them control

They crave control and they’re making life more stressful for both of you, so give them some control.

Control doesn’t have to mean nuggets and biscuits for dinner – give a choice of 2 vegetables, the colour of the plate, what activity to do after lunch is finished, small controlled choices are the way to go. Without choices your child will keep pushing in the way they know how – by refusing to eat what you’re offering. Your child stopped eating to gain control, now they have choices they can eat what you offer and still think they’re the one in control

Consistency and fun with food are also vital. You need to keep with it, small steps are better than none and it all helps to build up to the point where they’re willing or even asking to try new food! There are children that require more support and might not “grow out of it” by themselves. If you’re wondering how to know if it’s just a phase check out this article I wrote.

Check out our testimonials to see the changes other parents like you have noticed after trying Little Bites strategies.