Top 3 Tips: Feeding fussy eaters at Christmas

Christmas carries close associations with food and abundance, but if you’ve got a fussy eater this can add to the seasonal stress. Loughborough’s child feeding experts share their Top 3 Tips for feeding your fussy eaters this festive season…

Fussy eating behaviour is really common amongst young children, and is most likely just a phase, but this doesn’t make it any less stressful for parents – especially at Christmas time.

Here, they share three feeding strategies to help you get through Christmas.

  1. Don’t let your fussy child stress you out over Christmas. Relax the pressure and it will make the festivities more enjoyable for you all.
  1. Don’t worry if your child seems to only eat chocolate, crisps and biscuits on Christmas Day. The occasional day of unhealthy eating won’t do them any harm, and it’s better to avoid causing a battle by trying to get them to eat porridge for breakfast when everyone else is tucking into chocolate coins.
  1. If your child receives lots of treats for Christmas and you don’t want them to scoff them all in one go, try to restrict your child’s access to their treats covertly. This may mean you pre-portion the treats for them, or that you create norms (one item from the selection box per day). It stops you having to point blank refuse them food and thereby prevents the food from becoming prized or special.

For more research-based feeding tips take a look at the FREE mobile app, available on both Apple and Android or visit the child feeding guide website.

Watch the child feeding research film to find out more about Emma and Gemma’s work.


Drs Emma Haycraft and Gemma Witcomb are child feeding specialists in Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences.

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  • My 3 year old has hit a fussy stage, and it’s indeed frustrating when he refuses a lovingly cooked roast meal! We tried to prepare a few of his ‘old standby’ foods (like cheese and crackers) and placed them on the table at the Christmas meal to keep him occupied at the table and not turning up his nose at everything! – http://littlegourmetbaby.com