Fussy eater toddler at the dining table

It’s a simple fact: children tend to get sick a lot when they’re young. While there’s a lot you can do to keep germs from wreaking havoc on your child’s immune system, one of the easiest ways you can try to prevent illness is a healthy diet. But, as we all know, getting a fussy eater to eat healthier meals is easier said than done. So, here are a few ways to spot a picky eater and our top 5 tips for encouraging healthy eating habits.

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A child who is a picky/fussy eater will show the following behaviours²:

  • Negative reactions to specific foods due to taste, texture, smell and appearance.
  • Grimacing, gagging and vomiting.
  • Greater interest in playing and talking than eating.
  • Easily distracted from eating.
  • Crying at the sight of food.
  • Resisting food by crying or refusing to open mouth.

Proven ways to help your child try & enjoy healthier foods

 As a result, children who are picky eaters will have limited diets and are at risk of not getting enough of the right nutrients they need to grow, develop and thrive¹. But, the great news is that there are many proven ways to persuade your child to try and hopefully enjoy new and healthier foods ¹³:

  • If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force a meal or snack. Let them come to you when they are hungry.
  • Don’t bribe your child to eat certain foods as this can make the treat more exciting for them, and the food you want them to eat a chore.
  • Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child, especially when trying new foods.
  • Try and serve meals and snacks at the same time every day.
  • Be creative with recipes and presentation. Add chopped veggies to pizza or soup and use different shaped cookie cutters to make veggies or fruit into fun shapes.

If you are concerned about your child’s diet, speak with a registered dietitian or your paediatrician to see if a child supplement such as PediaSure® can help. 

nutrient glass pediasure

PediaSure® is the Number One Prescribed Child Nutritional Supplement, with 26 vitamins and minerals for weight, growth, immunity and development. Better immunity means better growth. PediaSure® reduces sick days by up to 60%

For more information on how PediaSure® can help your little one visit their website or join the PediaSure® SA Facebook community.

PediaSure® is a nutritional supplement drink for children aged 3-10 years. 

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  1. Kubala J. 16 Helpful Tips for Picky Eaters. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tips-for-picky-eatersDate Accessed: October 2019. 
  2. 10 Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Picky-Eaters.aspxDate Accessed: October 2019. 
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. Children’s Health. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948?p=1Date Accessed: October 2019.
  4. IQVIA Scripting dispensed data on Child Nutritional Supplement Constructed Market Latest MAT March 2018 -February 2019.
  5. PediaSure® Product Label.
  6. Huynh DTT, Estorninos E, Capeding RZ, et al. Longitudinal growth and health outcomes in nutritionally at-risk children who received long-term nutritional intervention. J Hum Nutr Diet. doi:10.1111/jhn.1230.

*Growth is defined as increases in weight in children. Based on a 48-week clinical study in children at risk of nutritional risk when given in conjunction with dietary counselling at baseline, 4 weeks and 8 weeks.

Pediasure is a nutritional supplement drink for children aged 3-10 years. 

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