It’s official: British kids are the fussiest eaters in Europe. So says the first European Toddler Nutrition Index, anyway. Apparently 43% of UK mums give in and let their toddler eat what they want during meal time battles, and 39% are most likely to reward good behaviour or eating well with a sweet treat.
I read the article with growing horror: ‘Will you have mash on the walls or peas on the floor?’ The headline in Metro asks. Are they joking? Both, of course. ‘One in seven under-fives in the UK refuses some food at every meal time’, it goes on. I fear this is the correct term for what I call swishing, when BB takes one look at the food on her high chair tray and consigns it to the floor in one fell swoop.
How did this happen? When I set about introducing BB to solids I was determined I would not under any circumstances raise a fussy eater. It was baby led weaning all the way – I have never deseeded, skinned, pureed, halved or quartered anything, and my approach was quite simple: take it or leave it. The trouble is, she would rather leave it.
Of course the findings have prompted a raft of advice on how to deal with fussy eaters, the most common being to ‘take a calm approach and offer encouragement.’ So I undertook a (very unscientific) experiment at tea time and followed this advice. The result was this:
Me: “Well done! Isn’t it tasty!”
Me: “Oh dear, never mind. Here’s some more.”
Well, it had been a long day. And you pick your battles, don’t you?