By: Ginger Jones
Do you have a picky eater at your table? Are you struggling to get your little one to try much more than chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs? As parents, we’ve all struggled at one point or another to get our little one to try something new. They either don’t like the look of it, the smell of it, or even the way it feels in their mouths. Here are a few tips to get them to expand their food repertoire.
Having trouble getting your child to try fruits and vegetables? It might be a good idea to just take a step back. Instead of serving up a plate of broccoli or raspberries, start smaller with a crunchy texture they might like. You could give them dried fruit or veggie chips – it’s still healthy, but they can’t tell the difference between that and a bag of potato chips. You could also give fruit smoothies a try, or frozen yogurt with fruit on the top. Make a deal – you’ll go to the frozen yogurt shop, but they have to eat two strawberries to get their sweet treat.
Having trouble with a new texture? Some kids get a little freaked out with the way food feels in their mouth. Instead of just asking them to dive right in, place a little bit of the new food on their molars and let them bite down. Make sure they know they don’t have to eat it, they just have to bite down on it and they can spit it out afterwards. It helps them get used to the texture and discover new foods they like in a safe, comforting environment. Another way they can get used to the texture? Despite what you’ve heard – let them play with it. Touching with their fingers is a great introduction and makes it much easier to put a new food in their mouths.
Whenever you introduce your little one to a new food, try to start with just a teaspoon at a time. It’s a small, easy introduction and doesn’t look overwhelming to them. It’s a much easier alternative than when our parents made us sit at the table until we ate four big scoops of peas and put us off the green food forever. Your child may need to try a new food ten to twenty times before it is considered in their repertoire – that’s perfectly normal.
There will be bargaining and there may even be dramatics and tears – but getting your kids to try new foods doesn’t have to be a production every night. Start small and work up so slowly that before they know it, all the foods they didn’t even want to look at before are foods they’re asking you to cook every night.