Picky eating can be a difficult issue for parents. You want your children to eat a variety of foods, but you don’t want to turn every meal into a struggle over what your child is going to eat. Many parents just give up on their fussy eaters and accept that they are only going to eat the same few meals they will accept.
While it is easier to let your child stick to the foods they like best, it is never too late to start working on issues with picky eating. The following are some of the best tips for parents who want to get their picky eaters to try new foods.
Make offering new foods a regular part of meals. If your child only sees the foods they know and then suddenly there is something new at the table, they might be more resistant. When they see new foods regularly, the experience won’t seem as strange even if it is a food they have never seen before.
Maintain a positive attitude about trying new foods. If you get negative about your child’s reluctance to try new foods, they are only going to be more resistant.
Finding ways to make meals fun can be a good way to get children over their picky eating. If the food is cut in fun shapes or made out to look like a face or an animal, they might be more willing to give it a chance. Get creative and let your child have a little fun with their food.
Start by offering small portions of the new food. Along with avoiding food waste, a smaller portion might not seem like it is as big of a deal to your picky eater. You can always give your child more food if they like it.
Picky eating is a natural part of childhood. Many kids go through a picky eating phase and most grow out of it. You should keep trying, but don’t worry if your efforts seem to be going nowhere. Most kids will eventually start trying new foods.
Don’t force your child to eat new foods. You might be able to force your child to eat something that one time, but they probably won’t want to try the food again. Offer positive encouragement and don’t make trying the food mandatory.
While you do not want to force a food on your child, you do not want to give up on a food after the first try. Research has shown that repeated exposure is the key to getting kids comfortable with new foods. If they don’t eat the food the first time you offer it to them, wait a few days and try again. For many children, it can take ten or more exposures to a food before they are willing to try it.
Some foods might require a little selling to get your kids to eat them. Instead of trying to convince kids they need to eat something because it is healthy, tell them how much you like it and how good it tastes. A child won’t be sold on the health benefits of a food, but they will be interested if everyone at the table seems to enjoy eating it.
Let your child make some of the decisions about the new foods they will try. Let them pick something new at the supermarket. Select some kid-friendly recipes and let them pick one they want to try. If they feel like it was their choice, they will be more open to trying the new food.
As a final tip, you need to set a good example for your picky eater. If you are avoiding a food or treating it like it is something that you would rather not eat, your picky eater is going to pick up on that. Eat the foods you want your child to eat and let them know that you enjoy the food.
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