We all have adult friends who refuse to eat certain vegetables or who are not even willing to be polite in situations where their favorite foods are not served. We can all guess why. It starts when you are very young. Got a picky eater of your own? Here are 10 tips to encourage your kids to try new foods.
Mostly It’s Normal
The first advice we will give you is not to panic. It seems to be a normal part of the toddler stage. Don’t try to force your child to eat something they turn away from. There are other ways to weave your way through this.
Keep The Portions Small
If there is a veggie your child won’t even look at, only put a small amount on their plate. Too much and they will turn their nose up at it. It will seem overwhelming. Then you can try and coax them into one or two spoonfuls. Maybe a treat afterward.
Invite A Friend For Dinner
Choose an adventurous friend who you know will eat almost anything. If your child sees his friend eating something he or she is not fond of, it might encourage him or her to give it a test.
Include Grandma and/or Grandpa
Having your own parents over for meals is a great way to begin a conversation about different foods. Surely there was something you hated as a kid. Have them tell the story about all the ways you would try not to eat something you didn’t like. A funny tale about your own childhood antics can make for a humorous and casual dinner. Maybe you hated carrots as a child, but now it’s your favorite veggie.
Practice Patience And Persistence
You may have to offer your child wheat bread or broccoli many many times before they will try it. Eventually they will try one or the other or both, especially if they see the other members of the family enjoying that particular food.
- Ask them what new food THEY would like to try. This may encourage them to try new foods.
- Discourage snacking between meals.
- Be sure to check if they are feeling unwell from constipation, fever, or upset stomach.
- Always serve your child the same foods the rest of the family is eating, just a smaller portion.
- Some between-meal healthy snacks include yogurt, apple slices, lean turkey, and whole wheat crackers and peanut butter.
Contact PediatriCare at (703) 330-3939 if you think your child may not be eating enough food or if there is an underlying health reason they refuse to eat.