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How to turn around a fussy eater: Adults

Disappointed when the new recipe you’ve slaved over gets the thumbs down from your audience at the kitchen table?

Adults can be just as difficult as children when it comes to sabotaging healthy eating. ‘Don’t expect me to eat that rabbit food’ is a mantra often repeated by herbivorously-challenged husbands! He doesn’t consider a meal ‘complete’ without a large slab of meat. Then there’s the all too familar story of a female who shelves her own preferences because the man in her life likes ‘plain’ food and he is allergic to anything green. The following strategies may help.

  • Encourage carnivorous, unadventurous partners to have a health check with their GP
    High cholesterol or high blood pressure may have more effect than anything you can say or do.
  • Make a deal
    Prepare a favourite meal of his one night if he agrees to eat a favourite of yours the next night.
  • Encourage an interest in cooking
    Go to cooking classes or demonstrations together and experiment with new ingredients at home. Like children, adults who are involved in food preparation are more likely to have better food habits.
  • Don’t go to extremes
    Expand food horizons by making small adjustments to what is comfortable
    and liked. Ensure new foods or recipes are appealing and tasty.
  • Encourage salad consumption by topping with meat, fish or chicken
    Once this form of salad becomes acceptable, the way is paved for other non-meaty salads.
  • Make any changes gradually
    Slowly reduce the size of the meat portion in a stir-fry or casserole and at the same time increase the proportion of vegetables.
  • Be sneaky
    If they refuse trim milk, try saving the dark blue-top bottles and dilute the contents of the milk with trim. Your fussy eater will get used to the lower-fat milk version without realising.
  • Emphasise how important it is to be a good role model
    If they don’t eat in a healthy way, how can they expect their children to do so?
  • If all else fails, go ‘on strike’
    This favourite last-ditch approach is sure to improve behaviour on all fronts! There is nothing as powerful as an ‘I don’t care anymore… get it yourself’ approach to gain recognition and appreciation for the effort you put into preparing meals! This strategy only works with older kids and adults, though.