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Tips if your child is a fussy eater

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Behaviour Food & Eating Mealtimes and fussy eating

It's normal for kids to be a bit fussy about what they eat – but it can also be a bit of a pain if they're refusing to eat the food you put in front of them! Especially if it means you end up making more than one meal every night.

Why not try these tips from parents all around Scotland to see if making food for dinosaurs will do the trick if your child won't eat?

Top tips to try at home

Top tips from parents

“Whenever I come across something the kids aren’t too keen on, I try to find different ways of cooking them such as chopping up veggies into sauces – Bolognese is perfect for this."

-    Julie, mum from Barrhead

"Use cookie cutters to cut out sandwiches to make them more appealing."

-    Judith, mum from Edinburgh

“Try making fun shapes and pictures with food on their plates. My kids love to make a rainbow with red peppers, orange carrots, yellow cheese and green cucumber followed by blueberries and purple grapes!”

-     Theo, dad from Edinburgh

"Don’t bribe or manipulate your kids into eating something they don’t want to. Ask questions about what kinds of food they see in front of them, and make comments like ‘I wonder if this broccoli is crunchy’ or ‘I wonder what these steamed carrots taste like.’"

-    Claire, mum

"Once I got my Pokémon-mad son to enjoy turnip by mashing it up and calling it Pikachu surprise."

-    Lorna, mum from Paisley

“Take a meal the kids like and adapt it slightly by adding in a new ingredient, such as an extra vegetable. Gets them used to a new food as long as they don’t eat round it.”

-    Neil, dad from Aberdeen 

What should I do if I’m worried?

It can be frustrating if your child refuses most of the food you put in front of them, and you may start worrying that they’re not getting enough to eat, or that they’re not getting the nutrients they need. But it’s important to remember that fussy eating is a phase that many children go through, and they may well grow out of. So don’t give up suggesting different foods they could try.

If you’ve tried every trick in the book and you still don’t feel that your child is eating enough, or getting a varied enough diet, remember you can always talk to your health visitor or GP. They’ll be able to give you advice on your child’s weight and diet.

This article was created as part of

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Last updated: 9 Oct, 2023