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  • Writer's pictureShannon Quigley

It's ok if, "they will eat when they are hungry" doesn't work!

I'm sure you've been told before that if your child is hungry, they will eat whatever you serve. But if you are a parent, you know that this isn't always the case!

This advice usually comes from a well-meaning place - usually friends and family or even your doctor. However, it can be unhelpful and frustrating when you are trying and feeling like you are failing to feed your child.

Lots of children can struggle to interpret their internal cues such as hunger and fullness. So, when your child isn't eating what's on their plate, they might not actually care whether they go without food or not! Some kids just don't read that rule book!!

This can be so worrying as a parent as we just want the best for the little ones and to ensure they continue to grow and develop. While we all want out little ones to eat well and include fruit and vegetables, when pressure is applied this can make the whole situation worse.

So, what do we do?

A Dietitian's top tips when your little one is refusing foods:

  • Offer new foods with preferred foods

  • Try not to praise your children for eating their food, remain neutral if possible

  • If they continue to eat only preferred foods, keep offering new foods alongside

  • Play with food by touching, smelling, kissing and licking while not asking your child to eat the food

  • If suitable, get them in the kitchen to increase exposure to new foods without the pressure to eat

Remember, take it at your child's pace, reduce the pressure and most importantly be consistent!

If you are struggling with your little one's eating and need support from a Registered Dietitian, get in touch below.

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Evidenced based kids nutrition advice

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