Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is essential for every kid. But getting there is a challenge for the parents. However, it is important to encourage children to try new foods for optimal growth. More than 50% of parents find that their kids are picky eaters. This can result in hectic mealtime negotiations. Good food, bad food, and food wastages are always a concern for parents who are struggling to plan a meal according to their kid’s preferences. Most children have their ‘go-to food’ that they love but that’s not enough for their growth. Is there a solution to get your kids to try new food? Read on to know more.
Tips to Help Children to Try New Foods
1. Be a Role Model
Before you offer it to your kid, you need to show them how you eat the new food. Display the ingredients at the dinner table and tell them about the new flavours, colours, and why you have prepared them. Talking to them about how much you love the food will encourage them to try the same. It will also help them communicate their own preferences. When making a dish, do not edit an ingredient just because you don’t like them!
2. Do Not Bribe or Force Children to Try New Foods
If you want to encourage good eating habits, the atmosphere at the dinner table should be calm and relaxed. There’s no room for bribing, yelling, or shouting. Never use a reward system to make your kids eat. And never force them to eat something they don’t like because it will only make them reluctant to try new food in the future.
3. Offer Them a Choice
Give them the freedom to choose from several options. Include familiar food as an option and add a few different forms of the same ingredient. For example, mashed potatoes, fries, potato skins, baked potatoes or potato pie. Encourage them to look, smell, touch, and taste the one they want to try eating. Ask them which one they want to try first and start talking about how you prepare the recipe. Talking to them more about food will encourage children to try new foods.
4. Allow Them in the Kitchen
There’s nothing more inspiring for the kids to be in the kitchen. They love to watch you make food. And if you give them an opportunity to smell and handle the ingredients, they will love the experience. Younger children can help you with measuring, weighing, and mixing ingredients. You can give your older kids more responsibilities. After involving in the activities in the kitchen, they will love to eat the food.
5. Introduce New Food for Snacks
If your kids are picky eaters, do not spoil their meal time with new food. You can offer new ingredients for snacks so that they don’t have to compromise their regular meal. You must also find out why your kid is not eating. Look out for any signs of sickness to know if they are ill or picky eater.
6. Be Careful with the Portion Sizes
Do not offer them a large quantity of something they are not familiar with. Always use small pots, bowls, and plates to serve new items to kids. Instead of keeping them directly on their plate, leave them on the table and ask them to try them.
7. Try a Lunch Date
Children love to socialize with friends of the same age. Their eating habits will also improve when they eat together. Inviting friends for lunch or tea will have a positive impact on kids. It will also boost children to try new foods. Food always looks good on someone else’s plate.
If you do not offer new food to your kids, they will not know they exist. You don’t have to introduce new food in every meal. But, try to add different flavours and ingredients so that they will have varied options to explore. Hope these tips help you manage your picky eater at home!