Dealing with picky eaters can be frustrating and experts believe as many as 50 percent of children are fussy when it comes to trying new foods, so you are not alone. It’s very important to remain calm and keep offering food even when it’s rejected because children who are limited to only a few types of food, usually toast and cheese are at risk of not getting the proper nutrition that their growing bodies needs to thrive. The good news is there is many evidence-based ways to persuade your child to try and even enjoy new foods.
Try these tips when you next introduce your child to new food.
Introduce food they haven’t eaten before alongside their favourite food.
Resist the urge of offering your child a sugary treat for trying a new food. Rewards are a good encouragement but not when they are food based.
Allow them to put the food in their mouth, spit it out and play with it. They are just getting familiar with the new texture, flavour and colour.
Only give them small amounts to start with, ½ to 1 teaspoon is plenty for a taste and this helps to eliminate waste too.
Tell them you are giving them a new food and reassure them by eating it yourself, tell them it tastes good.
Introduce new food in a stress free environment and don’t expect them to eat the food on the first attempt, they probably won’t.
Expect it may take as many as 15 attempts before the new food becomes ‘a fixture’. Remember to make it fun because stress and tension will only end in tears, even young children can sense anxiety.
Never force them to eat new food. Stay calm and avoid feeling frustrated. Remember there may be another 14 attempts ahead for you both.
Praise your child each time they eat or try a new food, they are more likely to eat it again.
Don’t make it a power struggle because you may not win!
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