Read these tips to help picky eaters try new foods.
Children, especially those between the ages of 2 to 4 can be picky eaters. They can love one food today only to suddenly turn around and refuse it the next day. This is normal child behaviour. My 2 year old does not like to try anything new and we have to introduce it to him up to four times before he’s willing to even taste it. So what do you do if your child is fussy about the foods he’ll eat? Here are a few tips to help picky eaters try new foods from BabyCenter.com:
Tips to Help Picky Eaters
- Offer your preschooler a variety of food at each meal. And be patient – you may have to serve a new food many times before your child is ready to try it. When you do introduce something new, simply place it on the table with everything else, and don’t make a big deal about it. Putting it right on your child’s plate may seem threatening or cause her to rebel. Eventually, after she’s seen you eat the food a few times, she may feel more open to trying it.
- Serve child-size portions. A child’s portion is about half the size of an adult’s portion. For many foods, that’s a portion about the size of your child’s palm. Examples of other child-size servings are 1/2 a cup of cereal or yogurt, 2 ounces of meat, 4 tablespoons of vegetables, and one slice of bread.
- Don’t give your preschooler too many options. “If you say ‘It’s dinnertime. What do you want to eat?’ your child will probably choose something familiar, and she’ll seem like a picky eater,” says Hudson. However, if you say “Here’s dinner,” she’ll have to choose from the food you’re offering. Of course, you won’t want to offer an entire meal of unfamiliar foods because your child simply won’t eat any of them. Instead, always include at least one thing you know your child likes.
- Introduce small amounts of new foods. When your preschooler is interested in trying a new food, give her just a taste and let her ask for more. That way she’ll feel more in control and you won’t feel like you’re wasting food if she doesn’t eat it. When you can, give her a new food to try when you know she’s hungry – slices of mango as an afternoon snack, for example.
- Keep in mind that children can have a sensitive palate. Many kids simply don’t like the texture, color, or taste of some foods. That’s why a child might claim to dislike a food she has never even tried. Likewise, some children may reject a food because it reminds them of a time when they were sick, or because they have some other negative association. If your preschooler complains that a particular food will make her sick, stop offering that food for a while. You can try again when she’s a bit older.
- Whenever possible, involve your preschooler in food preparation. This can include shopping and making meals and snacks. And if she can help you grow some of the family’s produce in the yard, so much the better! This gives her a sense of control over her diet. And she just may be more likely to eat something that she’s chosen or prepared. This works best if you let your child choose from a small selection of foods you’ve already chosen, rather than just asking her to pick her supper. Make fun, healthful treats together – like yogurt-and-fruit banana splits or ants on a log (raisins placed on top of peanut-butter-filled celery sticks).
- Look for ways to boost the nutritional value of the foods your preschooler enjoys. Put some tuna or ham on her grilled cheese, and meat or tofu in her spaghetti sauce, for example.
- Teach your child (without lecturing) about good nutrition. Hang a food chart in the kitchen and have her color in the requirements as she meets them each day. Nonchalantly mention that eating her oatmeal will help her run and jump better this morning.
- Be a good role model and eat the kinds of food that you want your child to eat. Family mealtimes are a great way to connect with your child and share enjoyable and nourishing food together.
- Don’t cater to your preschooler’s pickiness. While it was fine to indulge your toddler’s desire to have his cheese sandwiches cut into star or moon shapes, your preschooler is getting old enough to eat without special gimmicks.
As your child’s world expands and she begins attending preschool, her taste in foods might broaden as well. It’s not uncommon for children to be more open to new foods when they’re away from home.