April 26, 2009

get your preschooler to try new foods

I have been blessed with a fussy eater - and who can blame the kid when his mum didn't eat tomatoes until her age was in double figures. But last night we had a family victory - he tried peas, liked them and ate lots!

Here are my tips for getting your preschooler to try new foods
  • ask your child to try the food (I know it's obvious, but I think especially with something that has been repeatedly refused, you forget to ask them if they want to try it)
  • make it small. For some reason grated carrot is better than carrot sticks, shaved cucumber is better than cucumber slices.
  • let them spit it out (nicely - not across the table)
  • serve the same foods often so that they look familiar and your child sees you eating them
  • make it fun. Like making it small, fun shapes or ways of eating can help with getting your child to try something new, so cut it into stars, make a dip to go with the vegies and mix tomato sauce into the mashed potato.
  • enlist the help of grandma or grandpa to sell foods as their favourites when you have dinners together (with this, my son won't try the food then and there, but if I serve it in the next night or two it will be tried along with a comment about how it is grandma/pa's favourite)
  • if your child does try something new, praise their adventurous spirit
But my main tip is, do not make food a power struggle. Encourage your child to try new foods, but do not act upset, angry, frustrated or anything other than perfectly normal if they don't want to try the food. To help me with this, I always serve something in the meal that I know my son will eat so that I am not worried about him being hungry later.

What are your tips for getting your child to eat new foods?


A Vecchioni said...

These are solid suggestions for fussy eaters. The main point, as you emphasize, is not to create a power struggle. It doesn't hurt for parents to agree on this strategy in advance--and talk about it--so they have a unified approach to what happens at the dinner table. Great article---.

Melitsa said...

Good ideas. Thanks for posting on my blog. I think presentation can be a key ingredient to new things. I'm thinking about trying a muffin tin. There are so many blogs about it and ideas. Mine have always been good at trying new things but I like to keep it interesting I think for

A Vecchioni said...

Hmm. . .I haven't heard of the muffin tin idea. That puts an interesting twist on food presentation. The more I think about it--I can see how that might make a child enthusiastic about a little pile of peas or corn. Certainly worth a try. . .