Still fussy

My eldest was always a fussy eater. All he wanted to eat was pizza, pasta, cereals and toast. All the carbs. All the beige food.

But from the age of 10, he gradually started becoming a little bit more adventurous. He’s vegetarian and Quorn mince became our saviour – protein, which also made a decent bolognese or curry. He started eating spicier food and would manage a few vegetables (although plenty still get left at the side of his plate). I know now that if we eat out or if he goes away somewhere, I don’t need to worry about him. He will find something he can eat.

My daughter has always been fussy too. She’s a meat-eater, which gave us a little bit more scope, but she was only ever really interested in ‘pudding’ (specifically chocolate and cakes, nothing fancy). I had high hopes that she would follow in her brother’s footsteps and start to get a little bit less fussy when she turned 10. But guess what?

She’s 11 now and she’s as fussy as ever.

I know girls have a tendency to become faddy eaters in their teens – balancing so-called ‘healthy’ foods with too many sweets or too much chocolate – and I was keen to get her on the straight and narrow for a few years before that kicked in.

We do try to push her and we make her curries and stir-fries, even though she would rather eat sausage and chips every day. And she basically picks the chicken out and leaves behind the vegetables, the sauce and the rice. The only vegetables she will eat are peas and sweetcorn, but an hour after we start eating, she is often still pushing them round her plate.

Just as she did when she was about 5, she still eats mainly to earn pudding. She still keeps showing us her plate and asking ‘is this enough?’.

I worry that her diet isn’t balanced enough and it is affecting her health. She gets ill quite a bit – not usually properly ill and needing time off school, but headaches, stomach aches or feeling dizzy, which necessitate a few hours or even a couple of days of sitting on the settee and resting.

I worry about how she will cope on Scout camp and her school residential coming up soon. Will she eat enough? (The old saying ‘she’ll eat if she’s hungry’ really doesn’t work for her, if she doesn’t like what’s on offer.)

Her appetite is small, but of course she needs to eat in order to survive and thrive. So after a couple of days of ‘testing’ her with food which is a bit spicier or has a bit more sauce on than she would like, we have to resort to something like sausage and chips, just to get a few more calories inside her.

Recently, my husband came home all smug because he’d found some ‘healthy’ sausages. They looked like normal ones, but they contained lots of vegetables and some sort of carbohydrate, making them lower in fat, while still tasting just like real sausages. They would give her a little bit of balance in her diet.

The packaging was quickly thrown away, so as not to draw attention to the sausages.

There were some normal sausages too.

My daughter took one look at the selection of sausages and said she only wanted the thin ones. The normal ones. How did she know?!

There’s no doubt about it, she hasn’t followed in her brother’s footsteps. My daughter is well and truly still fussy.

Still fussy, Fussy, Sausages, Daughter, Fussy eater





Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I hope she discovers the joys of food soon. Z is soooo fussy too and I’m always worrying he’s not getting enough protein. He eats pasta and pizza and fish and lamb and fruit and veg but doesn’t really touch any other meat and never really eats enough. I think he thinks is just a waste of time!

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    • Glad it’s not just my daughter, but I hope Z starts to improve soon too! I’m impressed by the fish, lamb and fruit and veg! My daughter will eat fish fingers at school, but not at home (I have no idea why!). Apart from chicken and sausages, she will eat minced beef in bolognese or lasagne, but not in any other form.

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  2. I was a very fussy eater right up until I left home. Then I was in a catered hall at uni and tried out different types of food and found that I actually liked vegetables and discovered some new foods. My Mum always cooked a lot of meat for us (despite actually being vegetarian herself!) and I discovered that I don’t much like meat, so that might have had something to do with it. Now I’ll eat pretty much anything vegetarian. My children are super fussy so I’m just hoping that it gets better as they get older, like you I worry about them going away on school trips. Although to be honest I went on lots of trips away as a child and I don’t remember what I ate even though I’m sure I wouldn’t have liked most of it, so it didn’t bother me.

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    • That’s great that you managed to start eating a variety when you went to university! So there’s hope for my daughter yet! I was nowhere near as bad as my daughter, but I know I got less fussy in early adulthood, when I started eating more vegetables. But when I first went to university I think I pretty much lived on pasta, baked beans and crisps – cheap and not a lot of work to prepare it!

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  3. Oh no it must be a nightmare coping with fussy eaters, and yes they seem to have a sixth sense about new food. My 2 are not too bad, though Katie kept saying she hated spaghetti carbonara. Well I made it just the other evening, and when she asked what was for tea, I said saucy bacon pasta. And guess what…. she ate the lot! So I am just going to rename all the dishes she claims to not like x

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    • Ha ha, I love that! It reminds me of Charlie and Lola, when Charlie renamed the peas and carrots and Lola ate them.
      I’ve had fussy eaters for so long, that I’ve never known anything different. It’s not unusual for me to make three or four different meals (it doesn’t help that two of us are vegetarian!). x

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  4. Hi Sarah, it is a worry when a child doesn’t eat as they should. My son isn’t a fussy eater, but doesn’t eat as much as he should and is very underweight because of it. It is a big worry, but as he doesn’t feel hungry like we do it’s very difficult to encourage him to eat more.

    Well done to your husband for spotting those sausages. Unlucky that your daughter ‘sensed’ the vegetables in them. Fingers crossed that her eating habits will change. Which they probably will.


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    • So sorry to hear that your son is very underweight, that must be a worry! Strangely, I’ve noticed my younger son getting thinner recently too. He doesn’t eat anywhere near as much as his brother (but a lot more than his sister) and I think it’s just his growth spurt. I’m going to keep an eye on him, though! x

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  5. Oh dear, what a total nightmare for you. We have been very lucky with our two so far, they pretty much eat anything. Long may it continue!

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    • You’re very lucky! Hopefully it will continue for you. My younger son never used to be fussy, but after living with fussy siblings for so long, even he can be quite fussy now 🙁 x

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  6. Oh yes mine are fussy too – although my 9 year old loves vegetables and roast dinners! Even the fussiest has eaten more as they got older. We have started using frozen vegetables so we can put what they like on their plates to ensure they eat something healthy.

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    • It’s good that your kids have got less fussy as they’ve got older. We use frozen vegetables too, but they don’t like those either! My daughter will eat peas and sweetcorn, but it literally takes an hour of her pushing it around the plate before she actually eats it.

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  7. It is so hard and I wish I had some good advice for you. I think it can change as they get older, my eldest son was quite fussy and now he is an adult, he eats a wider range of food than I do. My daughter is also fussy and refuses to eat any fruit or vegetables and it worries me to death. I have now started to give her multivitamins to try and make up for the lack of vegetables in her diet.

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    • That’s reassuring about your eldest and my eldest gives me hope too that my daughter will improve at some point. My younger son, allegedly the non-fussy one, eats very few fruit and vegetables too. I mentioned it to a doctor and she said not to worry – as long as he’s getting some vitamins from fortified cereals (although I do also give him a multivitamin) and he isn’t too constipated! Will your daughter drink fruit juice? That is my daughter’s saviour. I know it’s high in sugar blah blah blah, but it’s natural sugar and she is fit and healthy, so I’d rather she had it.

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