Many young children go through phases of refusing to try new foods or refusing foods they used to enjoy. This can be worrying or frustrating for parents and carers.

Most children grow out of fussy eating and learn to eat a variety of foods

The following tips can help to manage this phrase


Provide plenty of opportunities for your child to see, smell and touch a variety of foods outside of mealtimes. This can be through food play such as messy play, cooking activities, crafts using real foods, books and songs.


Some children are more sensitive to different textures, encouraging sensory play can help them feel comfortable trying new textures. Playdough, water and sand play and messy play are good activities to try. Start with dry food textures such as rice and gradually move to wetter textures such as dough.


Let children be involved in choosing what they want to eat but limit their choices so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Instead of asking what do you want for a snack? Ask would you like an apple or banana for snack today?


From a young age children can be involved in mealtimes from being given finger foods so they can feed themselves to helping to spread toppings, pour their own drink and slice soft fruit.


It is common for children to refuse a new food, keep offering that same food at another mealtime. It can take 15-20 times for a child to accept a new food.


Children are more likely to try a new food if it is offered with foods they already enjoy. They learn by copying others so try to eat meals together and let them see you eat a variety of foods.


Try to remain calm at mealtimes and not show you are upset or worried by your child not eating.