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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Children's Health Fussy eaters

Fussy eaters

Fussy eaters are children who have eating difficulties at some point between second to sixth years. They eat the same food at every meal and feel nervous to try new food. Fussy eating can lead to under-nutrition which leads to children?s growth and development. It also affects the academic performances as well.

It may also leads to growth complications, increased chronic illness and risk of developing eating disorders in later life.


  • Uncomfortable position while feeding or nose block due to secretions or being pushed by other breast while breast feeding. In bottle feeding child, the hole in nipple may be small that the child tires easily.
  • Fussy eating habits are more acquired. Anxious mother are more likely to have anxious child. The child’s nervous system would have not matured enough to recognize when the stomach is full.

What to be done:

  • Serve the food as fresh and present in attractive way.
  • Meal time should be pleasant and relaxed.
  • Talk about food, this can encourage the child to eat.
  • Allow the children to choose from one or two items from the menu.
  • Give the child the same food you eat.

Tips for coping this problem:

  • Find the meals that rest of the family eats. Include one or two items which the child dislikes.
  • Serve smaller portion of food for the child.
  • Avoid forcing the child to eat.
  • Make the meal time more pleasant and enjoyable.
  • Limits snacks and drinks between meals so that the child feel hungry.
  • Proved drink after meals.
  • When the child is hungry offer new foods.
  • Avoid substituting milk for meals.
  • Do not force the child to have food.
  • Encourage the child in physical activities so that he will lose energy and feel hungry.
  • Food shopping with kids: Allow the child to choose an item to buy from supermarket.
  • Make meal preparation along with your child.
  • Avoid keeping junk foods at home.
  • Do not punish the child.
  • Serve the healthy foods and cooked in right way.
  • Cook variety of foods and color them or decorate them with smiley’s
  • Avoid bribing them like giving a desert if the child eats and finished the corn.
  • Provide health meal and allow the child to choose what food it wants to eat.
  • Avoid adding additives like adding sugar or salt to curds.
  • Evaluate the child’s diet on a weekly basis.
  • Avoid power struggles around the food.
  • Set a good example.
  • Avoid empty calorie snacks like crisps, soft drinks.
  • Invite other child for meal, preferably with one with good appetite.