There are many reasons why children might not eat some foods. Sometimes they’re learning that they can say no or other times the food tastes too strong for their young taste buds. Often, however, it can be that they just aren’t used to the food, and they need more chances to experience the food before they will eat it.
Here are some ways you can encourage your child to try new foods:
- Get them helping! Children who help make food feel proud of what they’ve created and will be more likely to try it out.
- Ask for their ideas! Children like feeling like they made their own choices. Asking them for dinner ideas may help them try new foods. Make some compromises, serve one thing you know they like along with one new thing.
- Start a garden! Children love taking care of something then using it later in a meal.
- Keep trying! Children may need to see a new food on 15-20 different occasions before they are ready to eat it. Keep offering the food without pressure.
Check out Food Flair, p. 42-43 for more information.
Some things to avoid:
- Bargaining . Don’t try to get children to eat a certain number of bites—this just starts a power struggle where no one wins.
- Rewarding eating with special treats. We don’t reward for other everyday tasks (putting on shoes or brushing teeth), so we don’t have to reward children for eating. Eating food should just be considered an everyday task.
- Preparing special food for your picky eater. As long as there is one thing they like in a meal, you can feel sure that your child will eat something and that they will not go hungry.
Do you have other “picky eater” tips? Send them to us and we’ll share them on our Facebook page!