5 FUN ways to get your PICKY EATER to try new foods
posted: Sep. 11, 2020.
Lots of us have picky eaters. In fact, it is very common for toddlers to eat a ton and love everything one day and to eat very little or refuse the foods they loved the next. As a parent, this can be VERY frustrating! It may be even more exasperating during these days when we are spending a lot more time together as a family eating meals and our kids may be using mealtime to try to exert some control. Don’t stress out over it though. As long as your children are growing well and you are offering healthy options, you are doing your part. Try not to make it a battle but continue to introduce new tastes and textures for them to try. Here are some fun tips to encourage trying new foods.
Eat the rainbow. Choose a colorful new food to try each day. Red peppers, oranges or carrots, pineapple or yellow peppers or yellow squash, zucchini or broccoli… You get the idea. Be creative and let them be involved in the process of picking what new item to try.
Crunch like a dinosaur (or monster). While not promoting the best table manners, this game is fun and works especially well with toddlers, preschool, and younger elementary age kids. Have a contest to see who can make the loudest crunch chewing their broccoli or carrots. Parents get involved too! Our kids think this is hilarious and usually will get down several bites of veggies fairly effortlessly this way.
Make it a science experiment. This is fun with the slightly older elementary age crowd. Make a list or chart of different observations to make about a food. Be scientists and see what you can observe. Try it and record it’s characteristics. Is it sweet or sour? Bitter or salty? Crunchy or soft? Cold or hot? What color is it?
Involve them in the preparation/cooking process. Sometimes it is more fun to try something that you chose or helped to make. Although it might be messy, even toddlers can be involved in easy food prep- mixing, spreading, sorting, and serving. Involve them in ways that are safe and age-appropriate. Learning to make and serve a whole meal or playing restaurant can sometimes be fun for older kids.
Give them a dip. Providing hummus or a healthy yogurt-based ranch dip can make eating fresh veggies more palatable for our picky kids.
Hang in there, parents of picky eaters! Sit together as a family for meals and model healthy eating habits. And, take heart, most kids will eventually grow up and head off to college eating more than just PB&J and mac & cheese!
For more info, check out: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Picky-Eaters.aspx