Fussy Eater? Try this!

Today I’m welcoming Simone Emery from Play with Food who is one of experts interviewed for my eCourse, THRIVE, RAISING KIDS WHO LOVE REAL FOOD…

Brenda Janschek - Three Nuggets

Simone is a veritable encyclopaedia on all things to do with fussy eaters, and in our interview for the course, she shared with me some very insightful and extremely helpful insights and tips. I’m so thrilled to have her on the blog sharing some of her expertise here for you all as well.

Family Meals and Fussy Eating

Guest Post by Simone Emery from Play with Food.

First thing first, I want to thank Brenda for having me here today! I love Brenda’s honest approach to health and wellbeing for the entire family.

Here’s a quick and succinct guest post all about conquering fussy eating stages with your child. My experience and studies in children’s feeding almost make it too hard for me to quickly tell you in a nut shell what to do about fussy eating. However, I can endorse one tool that is essential to get you on track, the family meal.

To effectively have a family meal we need to clearly set up a definition for it.

A family meal does not mean an elaborate roast joint with a million vegetable-laden side dishes, a painstakingly crafted dessert and everyone you are related to over 4 generations sitting down and eating together.

It can simply be just 2 people (you and a child) having a toasted sandwich together at the table.

I consider that the majority of my meals with my kids are family meals. Even if we only sit together on a picnic rug at the park to have a yoghurt that is still a family meal. Your role at the family meal is to be the provider but your children have control over pretty much everything else from the toddler years going forward – how much they eat, what they eat, how they clean themselves, how they motor plan getting the food into their own mouth. Yes, you provide it all but try and let them control it.

A family can, by understanding and playing out their roles effectively in family meals, raise children to be competent, healthy and joyful eaters.

If your child is particularly fussy with a smell, texture, temperature, sound, colour or any other visual aspect of a food increasing their exposure to it via the family meal will help you iron out the root cause.

Here are my tips for holding a successful family meal that appeals to even the fussiest of kids.

Engage the child in some movement before the meal to help them organise or reset themselves.

  • Everyone should sit with a 90o angle at the hips, knees and ankles. (Special chairs, foot rests or booster seats may be required).
  • Decide on the environmental cues that will help your child concentrate on eating (eg. turn TV off, sit in a well-lit area, use a familiar placemat).
  • Family style meal serves where everyone takes something from each plate provided – they can put it on their plate or onto their learning plate. Do this instead of plating up for the child in advance. It also saves on waste!
  • Try to offer a preferred food, a carbohydrate, a dairy, a fruit, a vegetable and a protein.
  • Use this time as a great chance to connect with your children. Eat with purpose and concentration.

For more information on ways to combat fussy eating and so much more,  join our growing tribe of parents on THRIVE, Raising Kids Who Love Real Food  parents who want to protect and promote the health of our kids and empower them with the tools to do it themselves. The next 21 day round starts March 2017.

Brenda Janschek - Family Meals


Simone is a mother of 2 little girls and lives in Sydney. She runs Play with Food. Play with Food offer food experiences to children and their families that aim to delight the taste buds and imagination. Her aim in these is to help families have happy mealtimes. Get her guide “The ABC’s to happier and healthier family meals” via her website.

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