There’s seriously nothing more frustrating than your child spitting out a mouthful of your lovingly prepared – and rather delicious - shepherd’s pie, in disgust.

But has anyone asked little fussy eaters what they really think about those hated healthy foods?

Many parents have tried every trick in the book to get their little one to eat fruit and vegetables, so it’s time to uncover the real reasons some meals only make it as far as the plate.

fussy eater

A new experiment, by global healthcare company Abbott, shines a light on kids’ honest opinions on food when they gather around the table.

'What meat do you like to eat?'

“I eat the chicken skin but I don’t eat the chicken…it’s too chickeny” Leo, six years old.

'Why don’t children like Brussels sprouts?'

“Because they’ve got disgusting vitamins in them” Joshua, six years old.

'What would you do if your child was a fussy eater?'

“I would first freak out. I would say if you want a piece of chocolate cake…I would make them eat their vegetables that they didn’t eat” Claudia, five years old.

These findings get to the heart of children’s attitudes about food and fussy eating and reveal the real reasons why some foods get gobbled up and others get left on the plate. It’s all captured in the honest, funny video above, hosted by Dr. Ranj Singh, NHS Paediatric Doctor and Broadcaster. 

The experiment was developed in collaboration with consumer behaviour consultant,Philip Graves, to bring out genuine reactions from eight fussy kids who were presented with a plate of foods they don’t like.

[Related story: 10 tips for tackling a fussy eater – and the things you should never do]

He said: “The experiment really brought to light the barriers kids can put up when parents try to give them healthy foods. For example, when Joshua's parents very reasonably tried to convince him of the nutritional benefits of eating vegetables, they inadvertently created an association in his mind that it was the vitamins he didn't like.

“And Claudia has already learned that "freaking out" is an appropriate reaction if she experiences fussy eating with her own children one day in the future (even though it's a response that hasn't worked with her).”

Fussy eating is unique to each child 

Reflecting on the film, Dr. Ranj Singh added: “Not only did the experiment prove useful, and at times surprising even to myself, the children didn’t fail to amaze or amuse!  What really came through was that fussy eating isn’t always a ‘textbook’ problem, and the exact behaviour can be unique to each child.

[Related story: Five top tips for stress-free Christmas mealtimes]

“That’s why advice to parents not only has to be broadly relevant, but also clear, simple and practical so that they can apply it in their own homes, no matter what the situation.”

“That’s why we launched fussyeaters.co.uk - to give parents practical solutions that work in the real world and a community to help them support each other as they work through this tricky phase.”

Share your tips and insights into fussy eaters in the Comments box below.