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Picky eating in children - Tips and advice on what you can do to ensure your child gets the right nutritional balance all the time

Posted by Eamonn Brady on


Picky eating in children

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacies, Pearse St and Clonmore, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to or ask our pharmacist in store

With Back to School in full swing, it is a time of year pharmacists get a lot of queries on nutrition and supplements for children.


Fruit and veg

The more fruit and vegetables are available and easily accessible, the more likely children are to eat them. If fruit is chopped up and ready to eat, children will eat more of them. There is evidence that children need to try new fruits and vegetables up to eight or nine times before they are liked or accepted. Be creative in the way you serve up fruit and vegetables (eg) prepare vegetables in different ways to vary the texture such as raw, microwaved, mashed, baked, grated into a casserole, blended up as a pasta sauce or as a soup.


Fish and seafood

Fish has many health benefits including healthy omega 3’s and protein. Varying the way you prepare and serve fish can make it more interesting for children. Examples include mixing it with other foods such as mashed potatoes or pasta, spicing it up with the likes of lemon, garlic, peppers, adding toppings like cheese or breadcrumbs, sweetening a piece of salmon with honey, using dips for the likes of fish fingers.



Have meals at the same time every day. Provide milk or juices with the meals and offer water between the means. Reduce milk or juices between meals as they reduce appetite.


Get kids involved

While doing grocery shopping, get your child to help pick the fruit and veg, fish etc. When preparing meals, get the kids involved doing things like rinsing the veg, mixing the batter, setting the table.


Be a good role model

If a child sees their parents eating lots of fruit, veg, fish, wholegrain etc, they will be more willing to take them too. Children pick up many of their habits from their parents.


Respect your child’s tastes

Everyone has foods they like and dislike. If your child refuses to eat broccoli or cabbage, don’t force them to eat it. This gives children negative associations with meal times and certain foods. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on it. Serving “unliked” food regularly at mealtime can make a child more likely to try and accept it with time. Try serving small portions to avoid overwhelming the child and giving the child a chance to independently ask for more.


Supplements should not be considered an alternative to a healthy diet. A short-term tonic with B vitamins and iron may be an option for kids who won’t eat enough fruit and veg. In Whelehans, we sometimes recommend our Children’s Tonic on a short-term basis as it is natural and contains B vitamins and mild iron which may be lacking in kids not fond of fruit and veg.


Yummy Gummy Bear multivitamins

Yummy Gummy Bear multivitamins offers a balanced combination of essential vitamins and minerals to provide children’s daily nutritional requirements. While being supplemented with nutrients that may be lacking in their daily diet, the children will enjoy the great tasting fruit flavours of these gummies. The provide:

  • Essential vitamins and minerals for healthy growth and development in children.
  • Antioxidants (vitamins A, C and E) that help boost the immune system.
  • No gelatin or other animal ingredients; perfectly suitable for vegetarian or vegan diets.


Children Nutrition Advice day on Friday September 7th

Whelehans host a Children’s Nutrition Information Day on Friday September 7th from 10am to 5pm. Laura Swarbrigg from Rowa will offer advice on children’s nutrition and explain the benefits of Yummy Gummy Bears. There will be samples, giveaways and other offers on the day. 

Supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet and are not meant for long term use.

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