What to do when your child is fussy about sandwiches!

🔸 Will your child only eat sandwiches made with WHITE SLICED (or another particular type of) bread?
🔸 Will they only eat ONE type of sandwich FILLING?
🔸 Do they leave their CRUSTS?
🔸 Or won’t they eat sandwiches AT ALL?

Here’s my suggestions to help solve these problems.

#1 Deconstruct the sandwich!

A sandwich is what I call an ‘All or Nothing’ food: It implicitly puts pressure on your child to eat the bread and the filling together as a unit. So if they don’t like the filling, they probably won’t eat the bread either. And if they don’t like the bread, they probably won’t eat the filling. Instead, introduce a new type of bread or filling (but not both at once!) by putting them separately on the plate and letting them do what they will with it. This makes the components of the sandwich entirely ‘open’ – there’s no need for them to be wary or suspicious of what new filling is hidden inside – and puts your child fully in control of what and how they eat it. They may choose to leave the bread or leave the filling, but it gets them up close and personal with both which is the first essential step!

#2 Use the bread roll trick!

When you’re in the supermarket around snack time, take them to the bakery section and let them feast their eyes on all the different (savoury) bread rolls there are: Round, long, soft, crusty, white, brown, tiger, cheese-topped, olive…? Tell them they can choose any one they like. Don’t hurry them and don’t steer their choice! No “How about this brown one with seeds on top?” or “I don’t think you’d like that one”! For this to work, your child has to feel they are fully in control of the choosing – and be allowed to enjoy the process! Go with whatever they choose and let them eat it straight away while you’re shopping.

#3 Get a Lazy Suzy

Buy a Lazy Suzy (Ikea do one) and put it in the centre of your table with a choice of two or three sandwich fillings in bowls (a mixture of ones your child does and doesn’t eat) and a couple of types of bread (sliced, rolls, pitta pockets, wraps, bagels?…. If they only eat sliced white bread, you could start by adding some 50/50 bread for example). You could add cucumber slices, tomato or shredded lettuce too. Now let them spin the Lazy Susan to take what they want and make their own DIY sandwich. This can really entice a child to help themselves to foods they might not normally want on their plate. And voluntarily taking a new bread or filling – even if they then don’t eat it – is a much bigger step forward than you might think!

#4 Chill out about crusts!

Confession: I sometimes don’t eat my crusts. 😮 Either I’m too full or the crusts are a bit hard …. whatever! Don’t make a big deal of crusts. The more pressure you put on your child to eat them, the more you make it into a power struggle and create negative associations with sandwiches! That’s not to say I recommend serving sandwiches with the crusts already cut off. Your child needs to get used to them being there if they’re ever going to become receptive to the idea of eating them. But if they tear their crusts off or leave them, say nothing!

#5 Don’t tell them to eat their sandwiches first!

Hang out at a children’s birthday tea party or a school hall at lunch time and you will hear the sentences “Eat your sandwiches first” or “You can’t have your crisps/chocolate bar until you’ve eaten your sandwiches” again and again! What message does this give children? “The sandwich – the most nutritious bit – is a chore to eat. But you have to suffer that to get to the really nice bits.” Such lousy PR for sandwiches! Let them eat their food in whatever order they want. Remember the No.1 rule to cracking fussy eating: YOU’RE IN CHARGE OF WHAT TO SERVE. THEY’RE IN CHARGE OF WHETHER – AND HOW – TO EAT IT!

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