The fussy toddler and allergy restricted diet – how to overcome
A child with allergies together with being a fussy eater can be immensely frustrating for a Mum. Together with not being allowed a number of foods they might be very selective about the ones that are allowed with the result that it feels like the child is only having a narrow range of foods.
It is important to remember that despite having allergies, some of the principles in managing fussy eating still apply to a child regardless of whether or not they have an allergy.
Fussy eating is normal behaviour in a toddler. They are learning to exert their independence and like to practice this in different settings particularly when it comes to food choices.
It is important to remember that their diet is only at risk of being nutritionally compromised if a whole food group is going to being avoided not just single foods from that food group. So if your child is allergic to eggs for example, and they don’t seem to want to eat a bolognaise sauce, then try offering other child friendly protein options from the meat & meat alternative group like: homemade fish cakes, meatballs or chicken nuggets. Toddlers like to be involved in their mealtime so offering foods (at least some part of the meal) in a child friendly way is more likely to get them eating.
Set good examples by eating balanced meals or snacks with your toddler and continuing to expose them to a variety of the safe foods that they are able to tolerate.
If your toddler continues to refuse a particular fruit or vegetable, stop offering that food for a while and offer something else from that food group.
Toddlers also like to be involved in food preparation. Providing that you are aware of cross-contamination and have made sure that the food your toddler is working with is free of any allergens that they are allergic too they will love to be a part of the sorting or mixing process and much more likely to eat if have been involved.
Most toddlers outgrow their allergies. There are some whose allergies persist into adulthood. The awareness and understanding of allergies is growing and the range of suitable products available is increasing, meaning that it is becoming easier to manage allergies. Communication of proper allergen avoidance, for all involved in the care of toddlers remains cornerstone to effective allergy management.