IT can be very worrying when a child refuses to eat or does not eat their five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables.

But thanks to a Bolton toddler club, fussy habits can be quickly nipped in the bud.

The Happy Healthy Toddler Club is an eight-week programme that supports the key principles of the NHS Change4life campaign.

It focuses on physical activity sessions incorporated with snack times where children, aged one to four, are exposed to different kinds of foods while following the five steps — look, touch, smell, kiss, taste.

The children get to try new, healthy foods, such as plain popcorn, peppers, pitta bread, hummus, pineapple and cucumber, along with their parents, to expose them to new textures and tastes.

Sara Gibson, community nutrition worker said: “We do a food exposure session at the club where we get portions of fruit and veg that the children haven’t tried before or don’t like the look of, such as broccoli, and we do this exposure technique together.

“We ask them what it smells like, feels like, whether you can see through it, such as with a slice of cucumber.

“Even if they just smell or kiss it they get praise.

“We also get the parents to taste it too.”

The club accepts children who have been referred from their doctor or health visitor, or children whose parents feel they do not eat enough.

Louise Riley, food and health adviser at the club, said: “It’s basically a healthy lifestyle course.

“Parents and children can learn about a healthy balanced diet, or if they’re concerned about their child’s weight we can help tackle that too.

“We take on children between the ages of one to four, but most toddlers go through a fussy age between the age of 18 months and two-and-a half-years.”

To enquire or to book a place on future courses, call Louise Riley on 01204 462694 or email