Crusts, ends, skin and peel…

So who finds themselves peeling apples, cutting the crusts off bread or picking out the ‘bits’ in say yoghurt?  By giving a name to say ‘yolk’ or ‘crust’ or ‘lumps’, it draws attention to that part of the food being different to the rest…and possibly something a child should avoid.  Particularly if the parent offers to remove that part of the food.
Let’s consider what might be going on:
  • the child’s sensory system is still developing. The feel of a lump or the look of a different colour on the egg may be enough to make your child think twice.
  • the child wants to stay with what’s ‘normal’. If they’ve always had fruit or cucumber peeled or the ends of beans cut off or smooth yoghurt, they might need warming up to eat this unfamiliar part.
  • the child is finding it extra work. Chewing through crusts for little developing jaws can be hard work.

What can you do to work through these stages?

  • for the little ones (pre 12mths), give achievable lumps. Instead of store-bought yoghurt with fruit, why not add cooked fruit, fruit purée, dessicated coconut or say some banana bread bits to plain yogurt. These create more even texture until they are ready for bigger lumps.
  • most children can and will work around peel and crusts from an early age.  But be prepared for them to avoid the skin or crusts.  There is no need to draw any attention to it though.  You might simply ask if they’ve had enough and remove it. Sometimes just breaking the crusts up into more manageable pieces will have your child finishing all their bread.
  • keep persisting.  As with introducing any new food, if you persist, you ‘should’ win. (Short of further sensory processing issues or difficulty chewing).
  • be prepared for regression.  Once a child works out ‘no’, they might put up some protests.  This is NOT the time to go with their requests.  Keep persisting, with no pressure.
  • model eating it all yourself.  You might show them how you bite into a whole apple with the peel or crunch the rest of the cucumber skin.
  • start slowly.  You might present sweet potato with just some of it’s skin on.  Or peel stripes down the cucumber.  You could cut just one end off each bean.


Always remember, no matter what, there is no pressure to eat and thus no drawing attention to these parts of food.  Eventually your child will be ready to eat it all…and they won’t realise the game you’ve just played with them!  🙂  Heidi
Please let me know if you have any questions in this area.

Feel free to come and follow ‘I Raise My Kids’ to receive more information on feeding, play, communication and literacy development. 🙂

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