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Aileen Cox Blundell is the founder of the ‘Baby Led Feeding’ blog.
The philosophy behind Baby Led Feeding is simply that cooking and eating both should be delicious fun. With healthy, nutritious homemade baby food recipes in bite sized meals that babies can feed themselves, it creates a positive relationship with food, right from the very start.
We’re delighted to welcome Aileen to the Eason blog to share her tips on dealing with fussy eaters.
Having a fussy kid is so stressful for parents. I have been there, and I can admit I have gone to another room to have a little cry at times. There is nothing nice about cooking an entire dinner and your little one not eating a single bite.
It happens, and if you are reading this, you are more than likely going through this right now. First, take a deep breath and don’t beat yourself up! It can change, regardless of your child’s age. Whether you made purées, did baby-led weaning or used a mix of both, children have minds of their own and can one day dislike a food they always previously loved.
When you think about it, food is one of the few things a small child has complete control over. You can’t force them to eat, or it will just make the situation worse. They own their decision and decide what they choose to swallow. The worst part is that the harder you push, the more they will fight back – and then they win!
Getting your children to eat veggies is a long-term goal, so don’t get disheartened if it takes longer than you expect. The aim is to make eating veggies and fruit fun and to really praise their efforts, no matter how tiny they are. Every little bit helps and is a step in the right direction. It will change, sometimes painfully slowly, but it will – I promise!
Eat together. If you are eating broccoli and making a big deal about how yummy it is, then your baby or toddler will be more inclined to try it.
Always put veggies on their plate, then encourage them to eat just one little bite. Be really complimentary when they do and ignore the veggies left over. Remember that it’s a long-term goal.
Feel my muscles! This is a trick that always worked with Oscar. When he eats his broccoli now, he always asks us to feel his muscles and we make a big deal about how strong they are.
Make eating veggies the norm, so your child sees them every day.
Talk about veggies and their benefits, especially when you are eating them. For example: carrots help you to see; peppers help you to grow strong!
Shopping Together Get your little ones to help choose fruit and veg in the supermarket and then prepare them at home – they ,love being involved in cooking ,and it encourages tasting.
Snack on veggies Raw Veggies are a great snack for older toddlers (though not for smaller babies). Oscar loves to dip and crunch, especially when he is eating carrot or pepper pig sticks (as peppers are called in our house).
In The Baby-Friendly Family Cookbook, Aileen Cox Blundell, mother of three and the creative force behind the popular Baby-Led Feeding blog, has created over 150 fuss-free recipes everyone in the family will love - from the smallest to the biggest and including weaning babies. From lunch-box inspiration to nailing the art of advance meal preparation and efficient food shopping, Aileen gives step-by-step instructions on combatting fussy eating and introducing healthier options to mealtimes. Expand your range of dinnertime 'go-tos' with dishes like Slow-Cooker Stew, Moroccan Turkey Meatballs and Baby-Friendly Chicken Tikka Masala.