Many children go through stages of refusing to try new foods or being fussy eaters. A study by Contemporary Pediatrics even found that two thirds of parents had trouble introducing their kids to new food or getting them to eat nutritious food. As much as it’s a normal part of growing up, it’s important to always encourage them to taste new flavours and stop being so picky. Here at Tutor Doctor we’ve come up with some easy ways to help your children say pass to their favourite pizza and tuck into some healthy alternatives.
The best way to encourage your child to try new foods is by starting small. Small portion sizes such as spoonfuls and nibbles won’t be as overwhelming and kids will be much more likely to taste and try. Once they have eaten something for the first time, it should only get easier.
It can take 10-15 tries before a child will develop a liking for a new food, so it’s important to never give up. The more they try something the more familiar it will begin to taste. Remember to keep offering small portions, followed by a food they like so that it’s not too daunting for them.
Encourage but don’t pressurise
Always encourage your child rather than pressure them into eating new foods. Be sure to praise them when they have tasted something different and accept it when they say they don’t like it. Trying again another day will do no harm.
Give children a choice
Choice is perhaps the most crucial thing to consider when encouraging fussy eaters. Let your child choose what new fruit they would like to take in their packed lunch. Giving them choice makes them feel excited and as if they are choosing what to eat rather than being told. You could even get your child to decide which new foods to buy when doing the weekly shopping. If they have specifically chosen a food they will be much more likely to eat it, even if it’s unfamiliar to them.
Set a good example
Always try and set a good example. If children see that their parents are trying new foods and eating healthy, they will much more likely to do the same. However it’s important that you teach your children that unhealthy foods are okay in moderation and shouldn’t be cut out completely.
Make it look familiar
Why not try serving some new food in a familiar ways. For example if your child loves mash potato, why not try using sweet potato for the mash and serve it with their normal meal. The more familiar these foods are, the more likely they will be to eat it.
Get children involved
A really easy way to encourage fussy eaters is by getting them involved in preparing food regardless if it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. This will increase your child’s willingness to try new foods and they may even surprise you by trying things of their own accord.
Creative cooking is a great way for kids to taste new food. Fun alternatives such as smoothies, pancakes and omlettes are easy to pack full of new and healthy foods and taste yummy. Try blueberries in pancakes, spinach in a smoothie and mushrooms in an omlette. They will be new favourites before you know it!