Little Fusspots creator is up for a national award

Nutritionist Beth Bonfiglio of Helena Valley with her five year old son Ryder. Photo: David Baylis
Nutritionist Beth Bonfiglio of Helena Valley with her five year old son Ryder. Photo: David Baylis

A HELENA Valley nutritionist is gaining a worldwide following for her work helping parents put an end to mealtimes 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 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 wit’s end, stressed and confused about what to do about their fussy eater,” she said.

“Parents know it is our job to provide our children with healthy foods that help their brains and body to grow and thrive.

“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 life time 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.”

And this mum knows all about it as the parent of a fussy eater.

Ms Bonfiglio said her son refused to eat anything green and developed severe Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

“I wanted him to eat healthy, but 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 along with using them in my own family.

“The time to start helping a fussy eater is when the child is younger because they haven’t had too many bad experiences that have created bad neuro-pathways.

“The more exposure a child has to food, the more variety of foods they’ll eat.”