Local Leader | Nutrition: How to tempt those fussy eaters

You may have sworn to never be the parent that resorts to frozen chicken nuggets, but when your delicious healthy meal is met with tightly pursed lips and stare of repulsion, your surrender can be forgiven.

Jenelle Croatto, dietician and nutritionist

Jenelle Croatto, dietician and nutritionist

As frustrating as it may be, find comfort in knowing that fussy eating is normal and likely has an evolutionary aspect to it.

From an early age, humans are drawn to more sweet foods, and wariness towards new foods - particularly bitter tasting plant foods - is what helped safeguard ‘cave-kids’ from potentially eating toxic plants.

It’s never an easy feat getting kids to eat vegetables, so let me share with you two simple ways you can help quell the mealtime battleground.


Try pairing new foods with old favourites. Research suggests kids may be more willing to taste new foods served in this way.


Make it a rule in your house that each food on the plate needs to be tasted. If after tasting they truly don’t like a vegetable or other part of the meal they can leave it. Even if they only lick or take a teeny tiny bite, repeated exposure will help kids learn to accept new food.

Remember to also ‘plate it up’.

Whether they are eaten or not, get into the habit of serving vegetables with meals.

The point is to teach kids what a balanced meal looks like, so they can form healthy habits for life.