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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?

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Top tips to try at home

Tip 1: Try a picnic plate!

We've all had times when our kids will only eat one thing. Why not try picnic plates? Offering them a choice of fruit, veg, cheese and meats can help them to try new things. You can find loads of cheap snacks and recipes to tempt your little fuss pot on Parent Club.

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Tip 2: Tell them it's dinosaur food

Try telling them it's special "dinosaur food" or "spaceman food" and make up a little story to go with it. You might find they'll eat it all up to be just like the dinosaurs, spacemen, or whoever their favourite hero is right now.

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Tip #3: Sneak it into soups

Photo of cock a leekie soup

Have you tried making soup at home? It can easily hide a lot of veg. Sneaky, sneaky! Also, thick blended soups keep them fuller for longer.

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Tip #4: Make food into fun shapes

child holding cut peppers up to his face like glasses

Fancy restaurants charge lots because they make food look pretty, so everyone wants to try it. 

Get your own food trending with your little one by making food into fun shapes, like cutting it into star shapes, or by making funny faces on the plate with the food. You can get them to make their own pictures too. Works a treat!

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Tip #5: Let them pick their vegs

dad in the supermarket with his daughter

A good way to get them a bit more interested in vegs is to ask them to pick their veg next time you're out shopping together. Include a bite-sized amount of veg with each main meal, so they're happy to try it.

Try not to make a big deal out of it if they don't like it the first time. Sometimes they'll  need a few goes before they realise it's not that bad. Remember how long it took some of US to like broccoli? 

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Tip #6: Get help with the shop

Give the kids a mini-shopping list. Let them pick out the ingredients and cook with you at home. Our pages on shopping with the kids and cooking have lots more suggestions for getting them involved in choosing and preparing food.

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Tip #7: Make omelettes

Photo of Spanish omlettes

Why not try making an omelette and sneaking some veg in? Just whisk up some eggs with sweetcorn, cheese, broccoli and ham, and they'll love it. It's a great way of getting them to eat veg – and it's quick and cheap too. You can cut it up into pizza slices to make it look even yummier.

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Tip #8: Give dishes fun names

Give your dishes fun names like Princess/Prince Pasta or Superhero Soup.

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Tip #9: Get them cooking!

Get your child involved in making the food more! Getting them to help means they're more likely to try it – even if it's just mixing things together, or weighing ingredients.

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Tip #10: Side dishes

Get the kids to try a little of something new by putting it alongside their favourite food.

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Tip #11: Follow the leader

Kids will often copy what you do (enjoy it while it lasts!). If you can, try and eat together – even if it's just once a week. If they see you eating up your vegs, they're more likely to do it too.

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Tip #12: Cartoons are your friends

Look out for your kid's favourite cartoon characters eating foods your kid doesn't like. It must be good if their hero is eating it!

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Tip #13: Play hide the veg

Why not try grating some veg and mix it into the kids' meals and they never notice! Sneaky but it works. You can find loads of cheap and easy recipes just waiting for your sneaky vegs here.

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Tip #14: Keep it colourful

Try making meals with bright, colourful veg. Using different colours of peppers might get them to have a try of everything.

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Tip #15: Break out the stickers

Kids love stickers – why not try giving them a star sticker every time they try something new?

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Tip #16: That's "my" salad

Struggling to get them to eat anything green? Try letting your kids prep the veg for dinner – getting them to help make it might make them want to eat it all up!

Check out Parent Club's recipes for simple things they can help you make.


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Tip #17: Check out the Simply Veg website

If you’re struggling to get your child to eat vegetables you’re not alone! The Simply Veg website has lots of tips to help boost even the fussiest child’s veggie intake. It also has advice on feeding children who are neurodiverse or have sensitivities around food.

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Top tips from parents

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“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."

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

“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!”

"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.’"

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

“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.”

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.

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