What does fussy eating really look like? Heres what to look out for

What does fussy eating really look like?

People often wonder what fussy eating really looks like. To help answer this, here's an example of a typical day's food and drink for one preschooler, when I first met his mum (courtesy of ‘M.’ in Galway).

Breakfast: Milk

Bowl of dry Rice Krispies

Ready Brek with milk

Snack: Cheerios with milk



Mid-day meal: Apple

Rice Cake


Dry Toast

Snack: Rice Cake


Evening meal: Liga

Rice cake


Dry Rice Krispies

This shows the common patterns I see regularly among fussy eaters, for example:
  • Short list of acceptable foods that are eaten daily or sometimes more than once a day.

  • Lots of carbohydrates (usually breakfast cereals, breads, crackers and sometimes pasta)

  • Very little other food groups especially vegetables, and often little or no fruit. Some kids eat lots of protein foods, while others may eat little or none.

  • Usually kids have a preference for a certain type of texture, with dry and crunchy foods being the most common, but also some kids haven’t moved successfully beyond pureed foods.

  • Often kids like their food presented a certain way, for example, this preschooler  always wanted his rice cake whole and would reject it if it was anyways different.

  • For some fussy kids, there’s lots of dairy in their day especially milk but also yoghurt and /or cheese.

  • Fussy kids often eat mainly different foods from the rest of the family, especially at dinner time.

  • Lastly, grazing is very common, that is eating small amounts very frequently during the day. This means eating mostly snack or ‘picnic’ type foods, rather than ‘meal type foods’ like some dinner.

Before M. Came to me, her preschooler would get upset even at the mention of different foods than what he usually ate. He wanted to change the topic of conversation immediately.  He had some awareness of his eating and would say that when he’d get bigger he’d eat other foods.

After M. came to me for the Fussy Eating Plan (just 4 consultations) her preschooler now eats foods he hasn’t eaten in over 18 months. These include meat (such as turkey), and vegetables (such as peas, sweet corn and carrots). He also eats a much wider variety of different fruits (such as strawberries and melon) and carbohydrates (such as rice). The parents “can’t believe there has been such a huge improvement”.

With significant training and experience in coaching, health promotion and psychology as well as having access to the latest international research and best practice on fussy eating; I have developed a proven 4 Step Fussy Eating Plan. This teaches your child how to eat and enjoy a variety of foods.

For more info, see here: https://growinghealthyeaters.ie/what-i-offer/fussy-eating-plan.html

Children's Healthy Eating Specialist



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