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How to deal with a fussy eater

Okay, I have a confession.

Margot, my youngest, doesn’t eat vegetables. She actually doesn’t eat much, aside from toast and fruit and a bottle of milk before bed (Margot self-weaned at 12 months much to my disappointment).

Unfortunately, this isn’t a new occurrence. Margot is stubborn. She never took to solids, just literally refused to eat them and until 12 months breastmilk was pretty much her sole nutrition.  At 8 months the maternal health nurse had the cheek to tell me she was malnourished!!  Needless to say I haven’t been back. This wasn’t without many many daily attempts and creative endeavors from me to get her to eat.  She also didn’t take the bottle and when I had to leave for 3 days when she was one (to the PBC Expo), I came back and she wouldn’t breastfeed. It was devastating, but the silver lining was she did start eating more. Unfortunately “more” was toast and fruit and about a litre of greek yoghurt a week!

Sometimes I feel like the biggest failure – I own a company focusing on beautiful, whole functional foods and my own child doesn’t eat vegetables! Phoebe, my eldest, has for the most part, always been a dream eater. She will eat whatever is put in front of her and finish her plate.  And Jo’s kids – well they are the poster children for amazing eating!!

So how do I deal with it?

Every single day, every single meal (aside from breakfast which is usually porridge, muesli or toast with fresh fruit – the child won’t eat eggs), I offer Margot an array of vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates. I cook a variety of healthy meals every night packed with vegetables and watch with dismay when she doesn’t eat them. I know I need to be tougher, and quit the toast habit but the poor child needs to eat something!

I also try my hardest to limit “treat foods” with Margot. Since she’s not eating the good stuff I don’t give her treats but unfortunately with grandparents and a naughty daddy around this doesn’t always work. She has a total sweet tooth and also a salty tooth – she loves feta and olives. Go figure!

With the help of my thermomix, I also add extra vegetables (usually kale, spinach and courgettes) to absolutely everything. I make muffins with vegetables in them and add vegetables to all my smoothies (as long as there are berries in there she doesn’t mind as it hides the green!).

I wish this could be an advice post, giving you hope for fussy eaters but I think I need the advice from you. I figure if I keep offering her healthy options every day, at every meal, one day (maybe when she is 21) she might start eating them. In the meantime I will keep banging my head against a wall at dinner time and hope for the best!

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