I don't mean the this-recipe-would-be-so-much-nicer-if-you-used-fresh-herbs variety of fussy eater.
Oh no. I mean those little darling(s) in your life who probably coined the phrase "flip flop" when it came to their personal stance on food.
Some foods. That food. Fussy about food.
As a Dad of two small children, it's mind-bogglingly incredible to me how kids can go from one day, eating a particular food with complete and utter innocent joy, to absolutely point-blank refusing to eat the same food the very next time their personal servant (i.e. me) brings it to the table.
Aahh c'mon. It's your favourite! Here's an 'ickle spoon with your name on it! Nom nom nom!!
Forget it. A resolution from the UN Security Council wouldn't change his mind.
As a parent (and almost grown-up), this stand-off right in front of me can really ratchet up my stress levels - basically, someone is telling me to my face what they think of my food and why they won't be returning to my restaurant.
I can hear that "whistle-kettle" in my head coming to the boil....
I asked a colleague about fussy eating and after 5 seconds, she had put my mind at rest. "Refusing food is perfectly normal, Dermot - your food is awful!" (she was joking).
Fussy eating she told me, is part and parcel of children growing up and how they see the world. Refusing foods shows their growing independence, wanting to do things their way. Or looking for my attention. And like me, my toddler has his own likes and dislikes so he may just be tired of Daddy's macaroni and cheese.
Fussy eating is perfectly normal. It's a phase and will pass.
And as long as he seems healthy and is reaching his little growth milestones in life, there's probably nothing for me to worry about.
And the more I listened to my colleague and the more I thought about it, the more I realised I needed to "Embrace" my fussy eater. So I'm going to give it a go like this..
E is for encouragement - praise them when they eat well!
M is for mealtimes - make food and food shopping fun
B is for be cool Daddio (and Mum) - stay positive!
R is for remember - bribery will only add to his powers and weaken yours
A is for alternatives - there's always options among food groups
C is for continue - stay with it! It can take 8-10 tries of a food before kids like it.
E is for encouragement - don't give up and keep at it.
No more fuss. Lots more fun. I can't wait.
PS - We have lots more info about safefood's fussy eating and ways to deal with it. And if you feel fussy eating is more of a long-term issue for you and affecting your child's growth, please talk to a health professional.