As the parent of a fussy eater you have heard this line before! Yet you have seen your child go without food. The above comment was one of many left on channel 9 news FB’s page, after a it showed a sequence on the need for early intervention in fussy eating.
Why is early intervention necessary?
1. You want your child to live a long healthy life and develop to their full potential
Researchers at Flinders University have shown that early intervention can prevent fussy eaters from developing detrimental eating habits. These have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. There are additional studies that link inadequate nutritional intake to developmental problems, as well as cognitive and behavioural abilities in the long term to top it all off.
2. You want your child to have a healthy relationship with food…for life
For some fussy eaters eating at a school friend’s home may be impossible. For those who have grown up with very few accepted foods eating out with friends may be very difficult. Further a study by Kotler et Al, shows that children with feeding disorders are at increased risk of developing an eating disorder.
3. You want mealtimes to be relaxed for all involved
Your child’s food refusals have the potential to increase arguments and stress levels, as the Abott Nutrition Health Institute has shown. The thing about stress at the table is that it is a catch 22. It amplifies fussy eating which in turn increases stress.
4. You want to reduce the duration of fussy eating
Parenting a moderate to extreme fussy eater, can put you under pressure to find something that works at every meal, every day, 365 days a year. Years of stress, worry and an uncertain outcome are exhausting and disheartening.
At some stage you need to assess what your child was eating 6 months ago and what he is eating now. If there is no progress, if your child’s eating habits, his confidence and your family are affected, then it may be time to think long term. Will it improve by itself? Will it worsen? Where do you want your child to be with his eating as he enters teenage years? What about when he becomes an adult?
There are many people who want and can help you, you just have to choose wisely. The sooner you nip fussy eating it the bud the better the outcome, for your child, for your family, for you.
So starving your fussy eater is not the solution, but you knew this! Taking action is.
At this stage reducing STRESS makes a lot of sense does it not?
So to get you started on your journey here are 10 tips I think should help you.