Food & Drinks

Are you dealing with a fussy eater? Expert Annabel Karmel has three top tips you won’t forget

Annabel Karmel knows a thing or two about mealtime mayhem – and how to turn fussy eaters into food enthusiasts!

The best-selling author of books on nutrition and cooking for babies, children and families, has a worldwide following, with 400K+ followers on Instagram alone. To compliment her hugely successful frozen meal range, Annabel has just launched Annabel Karmel's Little Tasters for Self-Feeding, a range of healthy and nutritious frozen mini bites to be enjoyed as a meal or a snack on-the-go.
Here, Annabel shares her three top tips for fussy eaters…

1. Pump up the flavour

Whoever made up the rule 'babies prefer bland food' was wrong.
"I don't know where that myth came from!" says Annabel. "The first thing I learnt while writing my first book, The Complete Baby Meal Planner, was that baby's prefer flavour over bland," she recalls."At the time, I'd just lost my first child, and my second child was literally the world's worst eater. I was very emotionally involved with my second child, really wanting him to have the strength and nutrition he'd need to help fight illness if he was unwell, but he was very fussy."
Annabel says everybody told her to try bland food, but her bub didn't like it.
"I thought, let's try him on flavoursome foods like curries, or add garlic, onion and herbs, and he loved it! Then I tried the flavour filled foods on a playgroup, with 100 parents and toddlers, and they loved it! Today, one of our best-selling frozen meals is Butter Chicken."
Annabel adds: "You can't add salt in baby's first year, so add other flavours, like herbs, garam masala, cumin, things like that. Try mixing up flavours, too, like apricot with chicken curry or fruit mixed with veg."
Annabel Karmel's Little Tasters for Self-Feeding range are healthy, nutritious, and tasty.

2. Make food fun!

Think playful names, easy to pick up portion sizes, flavour and colour!
"Make food look attractive, because kids eat with their eyes," suggests Annabel. "So rather than a dollop of a fish pie on a plate, which can look…. not very nice, make it in a small ramekin dish. Pop some in the freezer so you have individual fish pie dishes then just take them out as needed. It's like my frozen meals and snacks."
Or, get creative!
"Salad lollipops are a hit! Put cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado onto a straw – like a skewer. They love that," Annabel says.
"Or make what I have in my Complete Meal Planner, fruit and vegetable icy poles. No one refuses a lolly! Use strawberry, raspberry and beetroot. Or sneak in vegetables. Carrot and mango, or orange and banana. Even changing names like calling broccoli 'mini trees', or calling 'fish' 'chicken' can avoid food refusal."

3. Don’t focus on the food refusal

As parents, we invest a lot of time in planning meals, shopping for healthy ingredients, preparing meals and then… the youngling refuses to eat!
"As parents, we are emotionally invested in this – parents want to give their children healthy, wholesome, nutritious and fresh meals," she says. "But sometimes the answer is in ignoring food refusal."
Annabel says it's a psychological thing. "The more you focus on bad eating habits, the more attention they get for not eating, and the more they'll do it," she explains. "If you ignore the bad eating, but pile on the praise for eating even an infinitesimally small amount of new food, they'll suddenly realise that actually, you're going to get more attention for eating than for not eating."
And that's an extra bonus that comes with the Little Tasters – removing some of the time investment, stress and frustration involved in preparing food and snacks for our little tasters.
"Our meals and Little Tasters range contain healthy ingredients, no added preservatives, or artificial flavours, and you can put the frozen meal in the microwave and 5 minutes later, it's ready. They are all made in Australia – created in some of Australia's leading restaurant kitchens – and snap frozen and delivered to the highest quality standards."
Easy peasy.