Does your family have trouble with fussy eaters?

Fussy eaters can be a real worry for families.  The child that seems to live on thin air alone.  Or won’t let anything green touch their plate. Or is full after 2 mouthfuls of your lovingly created, healthy supper yet can wolf 3 slices of chocolate spread on bread 10 minutes later.

Parents are constantly being bombarded with Pinterest boards full of perfect family meal plans in a world where sugary foods and drinks are cynically marketed to children almost as soon as they open their eyes.  So it’s not surprising that many parents are worried about the amount of sugar their children eat or the lack of good green veggies in their diet.

I’m not keen on forcing kids to eat but I’m always looking to try new ways to gently encourage a healthy appetite and a balanced diet so I was really excited to learn more about the Kid’s Healthy Eating Project run by the University of Exeter.

The Project has developed a simple game that helps to reinforce positive messages about healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables and would like your family to play too.

I’d been introduced to the adult version of the game at the Exeter Sugar Smart Launch and found it really interesting. Early results show a reduction of around 200 calories a day in those who play regularly.  It’s not about weight loss though. It’s about helping you learn to ignore all the sugary food ads you are constantly being bombarded with, giving you more control over your diet.

Brain training game for fussy eaters

Lucy Porter, from the project tells me:

Fussy Eaters and food trainingWe know it can be difficult to encourage kids to eat their fruit and vegetables, so at the University of Exeter we’re looking at quick, fun and, most importantly, easy ways of doing just that! Our research team is developing a healthy eating “brain-training” game that aims to train the brain to approach fruit and vegetables, and to stop and think when it comes to snacks that we shouldn’t eat too often. We have found promising results in our experiments – now we’re looking for families to help test our game out and let us know what they think!

By visiting, you can find all of the information about our project as well as the link to the experiment itself. You will be asked to answer a few optional questions about your child’s eating habits before moving on to play a few games. One of these will be the brain-training game and the other games will ask your child to choose foods from a selection of images – this is how we will measure whether the brain-training has worked or not.

The entire project takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and is an exciting chance for your child to be involved in a real scientific research project with a university. There is also a prize draw to win one of eight £20 high street shopping vouchers! Our ultimate aim is to provide an easy-to-use and fun healthy eating tool for families who struggle to achieve a balanced diet in their households and we need your help and feedback to achieve this!

If you have any questions, you can email Lucy on

And do let me know how you get on with the training – do you think it will help to encourage your kids to eat more veggies?

Arabella Greatorex, Editor of Exeter Baby Activities. The ultimate guide to family life in Exeter




Do you struggle with fussy eaters in your family? Would you like your kids to eat a healthy meal without an argument?


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