Fussy Children Eating or Dietary Habits

It is very common for children to have their preferences for foods and refuse to eat or taste new foods.  As long as the child is active and gaining weight proportional to their age and height, there is no need for concern. Be reassured that fussy eating is part of a child’s development and it is NOT abnormal at all when this occurs!  

Do ensure that your child eats from the 4 main food groups namely fruit or vegetables, carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, bread or pasta, dairy products such as milk or dairy alternatives and finally proteins such as fish, meat or vegetarian protein such as beans or pulses so that he/she gets a balanced diet.

It is natural for parents to introduce new foods to broaden their taste range.  However, do be aware that children’s tastes change just like adults too.  Just persist in offering a variety of foods although it may take several attempts before you succeed in getting your child to like it.

Useful Positive tips for parents

  • Eating involves our 5 senses and so do try to present the food to your child in a variety of colours, shapes, textures, smell and taste.  Attractive foods may encourage the child to try 
  • Never force your child to eat because it may lead into a vicious cycle to food refusal or temper tantrums
  • Try not to introduce new foods when your child is upset or sick because he/she will not be in the right mood to try new things
  • Introduce a sense of consistency by having fixed meal times so that the child will be hungry at these times.  Avoid giving too many snacks in between meal times otherwise the child may not be hungry at meal times.  It is also important not to let the child be too hungry or tired during meal times or else the child may lose the appetite
  • The meal schedule also gives the child a sense of anticipation as when the meal will start and finish
  • Give your child the same food as the rest of the family and make it an enjoyable and fun time for everyone at the dinner table.  Try to eat with them as often as you can so that your child can learn to eat and enjoy new foods bycopying you
  • Having other children of the same age who are good eaters to eat with your child can set a good example and be ideal role models
  • If your child likes or looks up an adult like a grandparent, try to invite the person to eat together because the child may eat without making any fuss
  • Try to change how you serve food to make it more appealing.  Introduce new foods by varying the textures, shapes or taste to encourage acceptance by your child.  Make healthy foods fun! 
  • Involve your child in the shopping or preparation so that there is a sense of ownership in the final meal.  This include washing the fruits and vegetables or choosing the recipe for the day’s meal


  • DO NOT force your child to eat if your child rejects food. Simply take the food away without saying anything and stay calm. You can always try this food again another time.  It is normal to try 10-15 times before a child accept any new food!
  • DO NOT to use food as a reward. Your child may start to think of sweets as nice and vegetables as nasty. Instead, reward them with a trip to the park or promise to play a game with them.
  • DO NOT introduce new foods when the child is not well or not in the mood.

Talk to your Dietician or Doctor for advice

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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