Encouraging your little one to experiment with new foods can be a bit of a trial. Mainly because, in the end, it’s up to the child whether or not they want to eat any particular item placed in front of them, and also because they have no appreciation for their dietary needs.
So how can you introduce new foods to your little one and actually get them to give it a shot? It’s not always easy, but there is a way, and it doesn’t involve a battle of wills either! I’ll tell you all about it in today’s video.
You know, I can remember one of the most frustrating things for me when I was a mum with little ones was getting my kids to try new foods. And I’ll be honest, even today it’s still a little frustrating when I really want them to try something I think that they’re going to enjoy, and they won’t do it.
So how do you help your child start experimenting with new foods? Well first of all, think about it from your own perspective. If you’re in a restaurant and somebody orders something that you’ve never tasted before or tried before, you might not want to try it, right?
Like if somebody orders crocodile and you’re not really in the mood to eat crocodile or even try it, you have the right to say no. And imagine how awkward it would be if that person kept holding it in front of your face and begging you to try it and telling you repeatedly how fabulous it is. You’d be a little annoyed.
So we need to respect our children in that regard. We need to say, “You know what, it’s okay “that he doesn’t want to try it.” And that’s fair and we have to be okay with that.
So you’re going to want to remember that, especially toddlers, really young children are born skeptics, really, when it comes to food. They treat food with a lot of caution. They don’t necessarily want to stuff everything that’s in front of them into their mouths, especially if they’ve never seen it before.
So tip number one is to just remember to give them lots of continued exposure to the new item. It can take up to 10, 15, even 20 times of seeing the cantaloupe on the plate before they’re like, “Okay, I’ve seen this thing before. “It’s getting familiar to me. “I might want to stick it into my mouth and give it a try.” So don’t call it quits if you put green beans on the plate and he won’t try any. Don’t assume that he’s never gonna eat a green bean. You just need to repeat the experience, time and time again.
Make sure that you’re modeling that you’re eating it so he sees that it’s safe to eat and maybe it’s good to eat. But be careful that you don’t lay on a whole bunch of pressure by saying, “Oh, it’s so delicious and you should try it.” Because for some kids, they’ll just dig their heels in even more when you lay on that kind of pressure. So just model it that you make choices and you try a variety of things, and let it be.
Now after they’ve had several exposures to it, then you could suggest that they feel it, just touch it. What does it feel like? Is it squishy, is it soft, does it feel crunchy? Just get them to start exploring with how does this thing actually feel in my fingers? And then you might encourage them to just put it in their mouth. They don’t have to chew it or eat it, but just to put it in their mouth.
And if they’re willing to do that again, you talk about what does it feel like? Is it soft, is it sweet, is it salty, is it crunchy? Just get them to start exploring what it feels like in the mouth. And then again, eventually with time and practice, putting it in the mouth may turn into chewing and swallowing. But again, that’s up to them.
I think the biggest mistake we make as parents around food is just to push and push and bribe and cajole and beg our kids to eat things. And it’s really so much better if they come at it naturally, if they learn to trust their own bodies around food or make their own choices. And just by some gentle guidance, giving them options, giving them exposures, asking them to just put it in their mouth or feel it, see what’s going on with this thing, will get them to come around at their own pace. And that’s really important.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If you’re having issues with your child’s eating habits, whether they’re not eating enough healthy food, have no interest in trying new things, or are engaging in a battle of wills every time you sit down to the dinner table, try The Food Sense Program™. It’s a complete system designed to end the mealtime headaches, get your child eating healthy, and develop a positive relationship with food!