Tips to get Picky Eater to Try New Foods
I feel very blessed that my children have always been willing to try new foods and loved foods from every healthy food group. I have known many parents who struggle with picky eaters and it can be difficult to find solutions. I have lots of experience helping children try new foods even when they are not excited about doing so. If you have a child who is constantly in fear of trying new foods, you can threaten them with any consequence, bribe hem with rewards or have them forgo dinner completely but still not get the results you are hoping for. The stubborn nature of the picky child can happen at any age and leave a parent quite frustrated! If you are ready to fight back and get that picky eater to try new foods, start implementing these ideas as soon as possible.
1. Leave the Choice up to your Child
Every time you have a new food option that the picky eater may not like, give them the opportunity to try it on their own. Set the food either on their main plate or on a separate plate. Ask them to try the food or simply mention that it is there if they decide on their own that they would like it. Or you can say nothing at all and let their curiosity get the best of them!. Exposure to foods that they are not ready to try may result in them taking a bite down the road, because they will feel less intimidated.
2. Start Small
Don’t require your child to eat a huge portion of new foods that they may not like. Before the power struggle ensues and the anxiety sets in make it clear that they are only required to try a small amount of a new food. If you decide that your child must try a new food, make certain that you only require them to taste it or take a small bite making sure to recognize their bravery or agreeable nature. Going overboard with praise is not necessary, but an acknowledgement is certainly in order!
3. Build a Garden
When kids experience the excitement and reward of planting, growing and cultivating their own food, they will show more interest in the willingness to eat what they sow. Make a garden with your child and watch as your children anticipates and eats all sorts of new fruits and veggies.
4. Yes or No To Substitutes
Do you believe that your child should not be offered a substitute food in place of the food they don’t like? If you want to remain steadfast in the food served is what’s to be tried and soon your child will be hungry and willing at meal time to taste that new food they have been so fighting against. Or, if you are from the opposite camp, you may take this time to educate your child about the food groups and have them choose a reasonable substitute for the food they dislike. This will give them more education, less shame and a better willingness to be open to more foods.
5. Keep Trying
Never give up being consistent in your efforts of getting your picky eater to try new foods. Explain that our taste buds sometime change and so do our minds as a means to encourage them to realize what they didn’t like a few months back may actually taste good now! Continue to take your child out to various restaurants so that they are exposed to all kinds of new foods. You may even be surprised when your child expresses a love for a type of food that you never would have made at home or even expected that they would like.
6. Be an Example
This is an obvious tip, but so many times I have seen a child who does not like the same foods that their parents don’t like! When parents don’t eat their veggies but expect their children to show interest it can be very confusing. Be brave and curios with your child. Show them that you don’t like certain foods but that you will eat a few bites to get the nutrition you need. Maybe they know that you dislike cranberry juice but you agree to take a sip if they will try the juice that they are afraid to try. Be real and be an example.
7. Bring It Up In Conversation Away from the Dinner Table
One of the best successes that I have had with children who are obstinate or nervous about anything is to have conversations away from the trigger where it is not a threat! My absolute favorite way to do this is to add books on the subject to the child’s library. There are so many great books about trying new foods and eating a healthy diet. Simply making these books a part of your normal reading time will help spark conversations as well as provide alternate viewpoints for your child to think about when they are feeling non-threatened at the table.
Getting your picky eater to try new foods really isn’t as hard as it seems, using a non-aggressive approach combined with consistent attempts of encouragement will eventually lead your picky eater towards the path of trying new foods. While your picky eater won’t change their ways overnight, these tips shared today will surprise you as you watch your picky eater develop good eating skills over time.