Fussy eater tips for Christmas after TV chef Gino D'Acampo's slams 'moron' parents for 'letting' children be picky with food

To help parents this Christmas, Munchy Play® has launched its top tips for creating happy mealtimes using proven strategies.

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 10:50 am
While Christmas dinner is one of the biggest events in the festive calendar, tens of thousands of parents will struggle with ‘fussy eating’ behaviour.

While Christmas dinner is one of the biggest events in the festive calendar, tens of thousands of parents will struggle with ‘fussy eating’ behaviour.

Yesterday, celebrity chef Gino D'Acampo suggested that children that refuse to eat meals, should be sent to bed without food.

The TV chef said that parents need to train their children to not be fussy eaters, blaming parents for children's fussy eating habits, comparing children to puppies.

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During an appearance on the podcast he said: "When people talk to me about fussy children with food and ask me, ‘What do I think?’ I tell them there is no such a thing as a fussy child. There isn’t.

"But there is a thing of moron parenting. By moron, I mean idiots. A child doesn’t grow up fussy, it’s not possible. It’s the parents."

He went on to say that he doesn't think some parents can be bothered to 'fight' with their child so they let them get away with it.

He advises parents to send their children to bed without dinner if they don't eat what's on their plate.

Sophia Procter, founder of Munchy Play, said: “Christmas dinner is so much more than just about food - it’s about the whole social occasion and sensory experience, which is why introducing fun and play is a smarter approach.

"If there was ever a day of the year parent’s deserve a break it’s Christmas - so we’ve put these key tips together to help enjoy a stress-free occasion.”

Here are the seven top tips:

Involve your child

Picky eating often coincides with toddlers finding their independence. Help your child to feel in control, by involving them in the preparation and process. For instance, get them to pick out the vegetables, to lay the table, or choose the Christmas crackers. Giving them some autonomy, choice and involvement can help get them on board.

Make it fun

The best way to bring kids to the table and keep them there, is to make mealtimes fun. Munchy Play kids’ plates feature a built-in track for cars and trains – the perfect choice for a stress-free family Christmas dinner. 93% of parents say it has improved dining with their toddler.

Get creative with food art

Food art always brings smiles (and children) to the table. There’s plenty of festive themes you can adopt – such as making faces with Brussels Sprouts and pigs in blankets, or a Christmas tree made from kiwi fruit. For inspiration, check out #FoodArt on Instagram.

Lead by example

Families that dine together, tend to have better eating habits, such as consuming more vegetables. But if you aren’t willing to eat sprouts yourself, then don’t expect your child to either! Rather than serving up food they don’t want, ask your child which parts of the meal they want on their plate, or better still – get them to serve themselves.

Big on taste, not size

Little kids especially like finger foods and using their hands to eat with. Let them experiment with lots of different tastes and textures. Rather than overwhelm their plate with a big portion, give them little bits of everything to try.

Let them be excused

With so many exciting new toys to play with, Christmas Dinner is one day when children can be excused from the table early once they’ve eaten enough. Children’s attention spans at mealtimes may only be 15-20 minutes long, and this is one day we can all relax a bit more.

Stock up on snacks

And finally, Christmas is a fun time, especially for foodies, with lots of treats and chocolates to indulge in. Make sure you also have a range of healthy snacks available for kids too, such as yoghurts and fruit.