Do you have a child who is a fussy eater? Peas, please!

Food familiarisation through picture books can help parents introduce vegetables into preschoolers’ diets...

You may have heard that you need to offer a fussy eater a new food up to 20 times before they will accept it! However, it can be difficult to offer disliked foods repeatedly, particularly if your child is becoming distressed at mealtimes as a result. You may feel more inclined to give up than persevere.  But help is at hand!

A recently published study explored whether looking at picture books featuring the new food before providing it in a meal, would increase the likelihood of a child eating the new food... 

In this study, parents of 127 toddlers (aged 21–24 months) identified a vegetable they wanted their child to eat. Some of the families were asked to show their child a picture book about that vegetable every day for 2 weeks before starting to offer it to eat whilst the remaining families did not receive the picture book prior to being offered the vegetable. The study concluded that looking at vegetable books enhances children's liking of the vegetable and increased the quantity eaten. Daily exposure to vegetable books was also associated with less food fussiness over the period of the study, suggesting that picture books may have a positive, long-term impact on children's attitudes towards new foods.


From the age of 1 year, children can develop a fear of new foods called neophobia...

They will often refuse to put a new food in their mouth that they have not yet familiarised themselves with in other ways. To help overcome this phase, reading picture books about the new food or playing with the food outside of a mealtime eg potato painting can all help to encourage your child to eat the food at a mealtime. For further reading check out:

If you would like some 1:1 personalised advice to help your child overcome his or her fear of new foods, I offer home visits to assess eating behaviour and within 1 hour I can provide you with a plan of action that will help you to move forward with a fussy eater!

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