THE foods children are most likely to turn their nose up at are Brussels sprouts, cabbage and onions.
A study of 1,000 parents of 5-11-year-olds revealed the top 30 foods kids are particular about, including broccoli, tomatoes and spinach.
A study has shown what foods kids are fussy about
Others complain about eating mushrooms, avocado and fish.
It also emerged 14 per cent of the mums and dads polled believe their youngster is a fussy eater.
As a result, 82 per cent of them get frustrated when their child won’t eat the food they’ve cooked, and nine in 10 worry about their offspring’s overall health due to them being picky.
Others feel embarrassed (22 per cent), disappointed (20 per cent) and confused (20 per cent) about their child being fussy.
But 92 per cent of parents of picky eaters have hidden foods such as fruit and vegetables in a meal so their youngster unknowingly eats them.
Eva Hill Hamilton, clinical nutritionist for VIVIO Junior Multivitamin [www.VivioJunior.com/fussyeating], which commissioned the research, said: “Ensuring your child eats a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to get those all-important vitamins and minerals in their diet is no easy task for parents.
“It’s clear from the research that mums and dads can feel frustrated and even ashamed if their child is fussy when it comes to food.
“The majority of foods youngsters seem to dislike are those that will provide the most beneficial nutrients for your child’s overall health and immunity – so it’s important for fussy eaters in particular to get the right levels of vitamins from somewhere else.”
The study also found the most common complaint of fussy eaters is having too much of one type of food on the plate and not enough of something else.
Other grumbles included not liking food with bits in it, having too much flavour and disliking the colour or the physical appearance.
In response, parents of fussy eaters have tried hacks such as the ‘try it once’ rule (15 per cent), where kids must eat a mouthful of the food in question before they can say if they like it or not.
Others have banned their youngster from snacking on anything unhealthy until they’ve eaten a piece of fruit (12 per cent) and only allowing dessert if all the vegetables have been eaten (11 per cent).
TOP 30 FOODS KIDS ARE FUSSY ABOUT:
1. Brussels sprouts
12. Sweet potato
20. Bell peppers
22. Green beans
23. Baked beans
But while 87 per cent of those have had some success, during the typical week, fussy kids turn their nose up at foods four times.
It also emerged 69 per cent of those with picky children worry their own fussiness has been passed down.
Among the foods parents don’t eat which their child also refuses to try are beetroot (13 per cent), peaches (11 per cent) and fish (10 per cent).
It was also found 90 per cent of parents worry about their child’s overall health due to fussy eating, and four in five feel their child doesn’t get all of the nutrients they need in their diet alone.
EVA HILL HAMILTON’S TIPS FOR PARENTS OF A FUSSY EATER:
1. Make it fun:
Have a day of the week where the whole family chooses a new fruit or vegetable to try. Take it in turns to talk about how it tastes, looks and smells. This will encourage your child’s curiosity around food and spark their interest.
2. Give them control:
Children tend to be more adventurous in trying foods when they’ve had a role to play themselves, so try to involve your little ones in preparing and even growing foods – you don’t need a large garden, just a few pots is fine.
3. Be creative:
Introduce vegetables in an unusual way, such as kale crisps – easy to make and kids tend to love them. For protein, meatballs with a tasty vegetable sauce or fishcakes in fun fishy shapes.
4. Encourage mindful mealtimes:
Avoid distractions at mealtimes, such as having tablets at the dinner table or toys, and instead encourage your child to be present and notice the colours, flavours and textures of the food. Connecting with the food in this way helps children to better digest and enjoy their food.
5. Don’t force it:
Adding pressure will only encourage your child to have negative feelings towards eating and mealtimes, so keep it lighthearted and if your child doesn’t like a certain food, calmly take it away and try again next time.
And 24 per cent of the parents polled, via OnePoll, believe their child’s overall diet has an impact on how susceptible they are to catching germs.
With the typical 5-11-year-old having four days off school due to illness in the past 12 months, with as many as 13 per cent taking off up to nine days.
Eva Hill Hamilton added: “The vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables help to strengthen a child’s immunity, growth and cognitive function.
“So for any fussy eaters, I would always recommend including a multivitamin tonic to bridge any nutrient deficiency gaps.
“If your child is struck down with a winter cough, look out for natural remedies that soothe the symptoms without suppressing it as coughs are a natural defence mechanism to clear and protect the body.”