We can all relate to shoving away that broccoli as a child, and refusing to eat a lot of things. Let’s face it, children are picky eaters and refuse to eat a lot of what is put on their plate. It’s important to introduce them to new foods when they are young, so they can learn to develop a palate for these foods. Here’s a few tips on getting your child to try different foods.
Keep track of the accomplishments and adventures that your child completes after trying a new food. Write down all of the times your child was brave, what kind of food they tried, and have your child draw the food that he or she ate. Include any details and ask your child their thoughts about the food, and how they thought it tasted. Think of it like a scrapbook so that your child can be a part of it and look forward to adding decorations and art the next time they try something new!
Sure, you want to push your child into trying new things, but by forcing them to do it every day, or being too hard on them, you can make them stubborn and risk-averse. So-called “brain breaks” are useful to create a more positive experience and allow for greater focus. These short breaks allow your child to forget about the actual task, which is trying a new food that they’re unfamiliar with. They’ll lighten the mood, make your child laugh, and take their mind off of the new food in front of them.
Picky eaters can make evening dinners exhausting and tiresome. Children tend to avoid eating most of what’s on their plate and ask for dessert 5 minutes after sitting down at the table. Accommodate what they would like to eat, adding in good nutrition, but don’t cater to their sweet tooth. Offer small rewards like picking out a movie to watch after dinner if they finish all of their vegetables. You can also let your child come grocery shopping with you, and have them pick out a few new vegetables to try. Letting your child be a part of weekly meal-planning makes them feel a part of the entire process.
Instead of trying that spicy Thai dish with lots of flavors involved, aim for more simple dishes that still incorporate vegetables and proteins. Pepper jelly dip is a hit for both children and adults, and can be a great addition to crackers, cheeses and even savory meat dishes. Staying away from complex foods and flavors will entice your child to try them and over time, you can gradually introduce them to new foods.
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