Tips to Get Your Kids to Try New Foods
“No dessert until you eat all your vegetables!” Most parents find themselves saying this to their children at some point. Let’s face it, children can be picky when it comes to their food. In fact, a study of 120 children and their parents from 2010 revealed that 13 – 22% of kids are picky eaters.
So how can you get your child to try new foods? Know that it takes time and you are not going to get there overnight. Instead, try slowly integrating these tips and tricks:
- Eat what you give them: Kids learn best by example. Don’t just tell them to try a new food; eat it with them! They’ll be much more willing to expand their pallet if they see you doing it too.
- Drop the stick; try a carrot: Trying new foods should be a positive experience for children, not one of which they are afraid. It’s common for parents to threaten punishment if their children disobey, but in the context of food, encouragement and incentives may lend themselves more helpful.
- Mix new foods with common plates: You know what foods your child likes, so introduce the new with some of their old favorites. If they like mac and cheese, try pairing that with a side of the new, healthy food.
- Keep it consistent: Sometimes, parents will prepare a meal for the entire family, and then prepare a separate plate for the picky eater. Special treatment can reinforce bad eating habits, so make sure to give each family member the same meal.
- Get the child involved with meal preparation: Not only will your child have fun and feel responsible for dinner, but it can also help them understand what ingredients go into their favorite meals. Children may be more inclined to eat the food if it’s their own creation.
- Blend in healthy foods: We’re not suggesting you hide broccoli under a mound of French fries, but you can often use healthier alternatives when preparing food. For instance, if you plan to make hamburgers, you can blend the ground beef together with some vegetables in the food processor, making it healthier than a normal burger.
- More than one bite: Sometimes, when kids try new foods, you’ll end up on the receiving end of a “yuck” after just one bite. It’s important for children to give it more than one bite before rejecting it completely. Have them try a few bites, and if they still don’t like it, they can politely decline. You can always try introducing it again later.
Getting your child to try new foods may seem like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be! Introducing these tactics can keep them open to at least trying new foods. As time goes on, we hope this becomes easier and that your picky eater starts making a habit of trying new foods.
If you need help with pediatric care at home, call At Home Healthcare today! We’d be happy to tell you more about our services.