Fix for fussy eaters gains worldwide following
A HELENA Valley nutritionist is gaining a worldwide following for her work helping parents put an end to mealtime wars with their fussy eaters.
Beth Bonfiglio is a finalist in the Ausmumpreneur Awards for Business Excellence and will travel to Melbourne next week for the final stage of the competition.
Ms Bonfiglio, developer of the Little Fusspots program, said meals could be a battle ground for parents, filled with guilt, frustration and tears as they tried to get their fussy eater to eat more than fish fingers and chips.
“So many parents are at their wits’ end, stressed and confused about what to do,” she said.
“Parents know it is our job to provide our children with healthy foods except somewhere along the way the child refuses to eat a range of food except for a few options, which are normally the beige foods with little nutritional value.
“To make life easier, the parent gives in to the fussy eater, setting up a lifetime of potential ill health and malnutrition.”
Ms Bonfiglio said children needed to have their food preferences stretched.
“Giving a child a plate of fries and handfuls of biscuits on the way to bed may solve the problem of sleep but it creates an even bigger problem long-term,” she said.
“They become dependent on getting what they want and their immune system is under pressure from a lack of micronutrients, so you’re faced with more visits to the doctor and dentist.”
Ms Bonfiglio knows all about being the parent of a fussy eater. She said her son refused to eat anything green and developed severe Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).
“He just refused and the older he got the harder it was to change,” she said.
She said many parents get to the point where they cross their fingers and hope their child grows out of it, but she said this put kids at risk of a new feeding disorder – Avoidant, Restrictive, Food Intake Disorder.
“As a clinical nutritionist I wasn't going to wait until my son grew out of it, so I did extensive research, worked with some of the world’s best sensory experts and together we workshopped new techniques to find the best way for treating fussy eaters,” she says.
“I now teach these techniques to parents and carers worldwide.
“The time to start helping a fussy eater is when the child is younger because they haven’t had too many bad experiences.”
Nutritionist Beth Bonfiglio with her son Ryder, who was at one time a fussy eater.