I’d love some advice about my five-year-old girl, who is a fussy eater. Many nights, she goes to bed hungry because she hasn’t eaten dinner. She’s fine with breakfast, which is porridge. At lunchtime she’ll have bananas on toast or a jam sandwich made with wholemeal bread. Our afternoon teas are healthy: fresh fruit, air-popped popcorn with salt and butter or fruit smoothies. The main problem is dinner. She eats sausages, plain pasta and plain couscous. She’ll have yoghurt, cheese sauce, grated cheese, tomato sauce and the odd raw carrot. But not much more.
It is possible that your daughter is not terribly hungry at dinner time. At five, she will be having very busy and often exhausting days and may not feel like eating. You are giving her a wonderfully healthy diet so most of her nutritional needs will have been met before dinner. Most children are ravenous right after school and you may find that she may need a larger afternoon tea. Think about giving her an egg, cheese or meat sandwich so that if she doesn’t eat dinner, you know she has had reasonable quantity of protein and carbohydrate. One problem we face is that our way of eating is just about opposite to our children’s natural appetite. Our bodies need a larger quantity of food after we have fasted all night, a middle-sized quantity to get us through the afternoon and a small meal at night.