7 ideas to help your child with trying new foods!
Toddlers. Just when they’ve entered the exciting world of eating and the vast array of flavours that they can explore, they decide they only want a few of them. It’s so tempting to entice a toddler into trying the foods you want them to eat. But look at this lovely bright red tomato! It’s all juicy! Try some! But quite often these efforts leave us frustrated when healthy, nutritious offerings are refused and left to languish untouched on the plate. Toddlers feel it too, the coercion to eat something they just don’t like the look of. And more often than not, it just makes them feel even less like trying it, no matter how you present it. So while there are a few ideas on how to help children try new foods, it is worthwhile remembering that picky eating is normal and only a phase. Try not to get caught up in offering new things all the time otherwise it becomes an issue which will only make things harder for both of you.
Some ideas worth looking at if your little one’s menu is becoming a little too restricted…
Go to the garden centre together and choose some vegetable seeds. Look at the pictures of the vegetables and talk about the ones they know, the ones they’ve tried and the ones they haven’t. let your little one pick a vegetable they would like to grow. Plant the seeds together and watch them grow. See if your little one can describe how the vegetable looks different as it grows bigger. Then talk about what they think it will taste like and what they might like to eat with it.
Pick the vegetable and let your child help to prepare it. Start with washing it. Then, together you can cut it up and try it uncooked (if its safe to eat raw). Then let your child help or watch you as you cook it. Serve it up on its own or with your dinner and you can both describe to each other how it tastes and whether you like it and would eat it again.
When you are out shopping together, let your child help you by allowing them to choose the broccoli or potatoes or whatever it is you are buying, and put in the basket. Talk about what you need for dinner that night and the how lovely those carrots are going to taste with dinner. Let them help with the scanner and putting it away in the fridge at home. The more ownership they feel over their food the more likely they are to try it.
Make pizza, wraps or pancakes together. Put a small selection of fruits or vegetable, including the new food you’d like them to try, on a plate. Together, you can choose which ones to arrange on top of the pizza base, wrap or pancake. You can make faces, patterns, pictures, anything that will make it fun and exciting to eat.
When offering a new food, only offer a few bits. If a plate is overloaded with a food they haven’t seen before or that they don’t like, it can seem intimidating to them and its likely they’ll not touch it at all. So just put one or two pieces of the food alongside something they like so that they feel safe eating it.
You could arrange a few foods of different colours, including something you’d like them to try, and talk about the colours they can see. See if they can eat something for every colour in the rainbow.
Don’t force, don’t even encourage. Trust your child to know what they need and how much. If they never touch the new food, just put it alongside the other foods they like and don’t mention it. Either they’ll ignore it forever or they’ll try it when they’re ready to. Trust is key. Children need to be in control of what they want to eat and how much they want to eat of it. Our job as parents is to simply offer a selection of healthy food at each meal and snack time. The rest is up to them.
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