Thanks for your question. This is quite common, especially in children around 2-4 years old, when they go through a fussy phase of eating and can start to refuse to eat healthier foods. The trick is to keep offering healthy foods. If you feel you need to limit your child’s intake of junk foods, the advice is to do this covertly, so that s/he is not aware of it, rather than overtly. This means not buying biscuits to keep in the tin at home or not walking home past the sweet shop. This will avoid you having to say “no” when your child asks for unhealthy treats or snacks. Instead, stock healthy snacks and food choices at home, or pre-portion treats (e.g., rather than bringing out 12 cupcakes, just present enough for one per person). This way of limiting intake has been shown to be more effective, in the long term, at helping children to develop healthy relationships with food.
There’s more information on the Child Feeding Guide website – http://www.childfeedingguide.co.uk/common-feeding-pitfalls/unhealthy-food-preferences I hope this helps!
Dr Emma Haycraft
Riverside Cares and the Child Feeding Guide share the importance of establishing healthy eating habits early in life. Visit our websites to learn more about ‘Feeding Children Well’ events, evidence-based programmes, and tips for feeding children. riversidecares.co.uk/parenting-hub/ childfeedingguide.co.uk