Published on 21st June 2019


We chat with Ciara Attwell, founder of the award-winning food blog My Fussy Eater and author of the cookbook of the same name. Ciara set up her blog in 2014 in an attempt to get her own fussy eating daughter to eat a better and more varied diet, and to put some fun back into meal times. She now shares recipes, meal plans, and tips and tricks to help other parents.


Tell us about your own experience of fussy eating and why you started your blog

“I started the blog in 2014 at a time when I was really struggling with my daughter's eating. I had just given birth to my little boy and had lived on a bland diet of beige food during my pregnancy as I felt continuously nauseous. I wanted to turn both our eating habits around. I wasn't the best or most adventurous cook so I decided to document my journey on a blog.” 

Have you always been an inspired cook?

“Not at all! At university I lived on a diet of pasta and jars of tomato sauce. After uni I moved to London and worked very long hours. I cooked a little then but mostly ate shop bought sandwiches and ready meals.”

How do you define a ‘picky eater’? Is it just a phase or something more concerning?  

“I think the term picky eater can be used to describe a wide range of eating behaviours in children, from mild fussy eating to more severe food aversions. Most children seem to go through phases of less severe picky eating at some stage in the first few years of their life. This level of fussy eating is not overly concerning but if you are worried about the amount your child is eating (i.e. not getting enough calories) or they have a very restricted diet, then I always recommend seeking professional advice from a doctor/paediatrician/health visitor.”

In your experience, are there any triggers for fussy eating?

“The terrible twos tend to be a particularly tricky time for food. At this age toddlers have a budding sense of independence and they want to maintain some kind of control in their life. This will come out in different ways – food, clothing, toys, etc. Many parents tell me their child has turned from a baby who eats everything to a toddler who is refusing everything, pretty much overnight. It's very common at that age and I always say not to worry!”

What are your top tips for parents of picky eaters?

“Keep calm and keep trying. Don't get overly stress or anxious about it, especially around your child. You don't want them to know that it is a big issue. And just keep trying. Children's taste buds change and develop so quickly when they are young. They may hate broccoli today but in a few weeks they might find it a lot more palatable. Keep offering these foods but don't make a big deal out of it if they refuse them.” 

If a child still refuses to eat a balanced diet, what would you do?

“If you are genuinely worried then seek some professional help. As your child gets older you can also talk to them about the importance of food, a balanced diet and what different nutrients will do for their body. Don't just assume they know this!”

Are there any commonly used strategies that haven’t worked for you?

“I found the more traditional approaches of making my children stay at the table until they have finished their food, or not allowing them any other food if they have refused dinner didn't work for me. It just seemed to cause more stress and frustration.”

Tell us about your cookbook My Fussy Eater

“Working online is great but a lot of people still like a physical cookbook in their kitchen. So I wrote one! It's basically an amalgamation of everything I have learned myself in the past few years. I share my top tips for dealing with fussy eaters, my kitchen essentials along with 100 recipes that the whole family will love.”

What’s next for you?

“I am in the middle of working on a brand new project right now. I can't give much away but it involves a physical product to help your kids eat a little better! Watch out for more later this year!”


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