It’s dinnertime, and you’ve served your child an unfamiliar dish. “It smells bad, it looks weird, and I don’t want it,” they say. Does this sound familiar? For some children, trying something new is akin to getting a shot at the doctor’s office: painful and completely unwelcome. With these tips for getting picky kids to try new foods, follow these five guidelines to help your child broaden their food horizons.
1. Be a role model in nutrition.
Use the “lead by example” approach here. Remember that your children look up to you, and if they see you eating healthy food, they will also want to try it. Show your children that eating healthy is important and that they should not avoid it because they are afraid to try something new. Furthermore, by making an effort to eat a food you dislike, you demonstrate that even if you don’t like something the first time you eat it, giving it another shot is important.
2. Take each bite one at a time.
You’ve made a bad decision if you put a large portion of broccoli in front of your children and expect them to eat it. For starters, serving large portions may encourage unhealthy eating habits, especially if you force your child to finish the entire plate. Begin by allowing them to try one bite. Give them a small portion if they like it. If they don’t, try again later. Children to like a particular food may take 10 to 15 tries!
3. Combine new and old favorites.
If your children enjoy pizza, try adding broccoli as a topping or allowing them to spread peanut butter on celery. It may be easier to sneak in some healthy additions by combining new things with foods that your children are already familiar with.
4. Enlist their assistance in the kitchen.
Making your children a part of the cooking process allows them to become more acquainted with new foods, textures, and smells. Allowing them to help prepare their dish is similar to allow them to build something: they’ll always be curious about how it turned out, and as a result, they’ll want to eat their culinary creation.
5. Make food enjoyable.
Still perplexed? Use a clever device like Food Face plates to encourage your kid to play with his or her food. Your picky eater will enjoy moving the green beans or carrots around to make different faces, similar to those old “Wooly Willy” magnet-facial-hair novelty toys. If children are entertained by their meals, they may be more interested in how the food tastes rather than how it feels.
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