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Eating Out With a Fussy Eater

Posted by admin Friday, October 19, 2012

So you’ve gone out for dinner as a family and your little one has ordered the sausage beans and chips from the menu...again! It’s a difficult situation for any parent since at least you know he will eat the meal and so you won't be wasting your money, but a part of you would love for him to try the lasagne or moussaka.  
There is a solution but you need to pull together as a family to work through it.


  • When ordering, offer your little one a choice of two dishes which you are happy for them to have. If you do not want them ordering the fish fingers then don’t offer it. You make the big decisions (baked beans or chips) and they make the small decisions (chips). Whether you make this a choice around the main dish or side dish is up to you, but the important thing is your child has made a choice.
  • When the meals arrive, put all the dishes in the middle of the table and each person (including adults) has a clean plate on to which you will serve portions of the different foods, so you each have lots of little things of everything.

It will certainly be an interesting plate of food, but let’s explain the reasons behind this:

  • Smaller portions of a new foods are easier for a child to consider eating than a whole plateful. A slice of omelette is more manageable than a whole omelette
  • Seeing everyone eating the same foods will encourage copying and on a subconscious level reassure your little one that the food is safe to eat
  • Serving yourself can be fun for a child and take the focus of the eating
  • You can control how much of one food is consumed – a whole plate of chips or 6 chipsY
  • Your little one will still feel empowered as they chose the food (chips) which they are eating yet you can be happy that there are other foods to encourage variety

Remember, a child needs to be exposed to a new food 16-18 times before they may “like” it so don’t be disheartened if at first the new foods are nibbled or shunned. Keep offering, serving and try not make a big deal out of it and things will change.

Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net
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