One of the oldest parenting struggles is the battle to get your kids to eat new foods. Whether your little ones turn their noses up at green vegetables or refuse anything with seasoning or sauce, it can be incredibly frustrating to get them to open their minds, try something new, and put down the plain pasta and fish sticks they rely on for sustenance!
- Stay calm. While it can be frustrating to put food in front of your child only to watch them refuse it, relax. Don’t turn mealtime into a pressure cooker of a situation. Just keep trying to offer new things and wait until they take you up on it!
- Offer a bite of a new food at the beginning of your child’s meal, when he is at his hungriest. Limit snacks to a few hours before mealtime, so that you can ensure that your child will be ready to eat when he sit down at the table.
- Trying is the most important part. It’s not a big deal if your kids doesn’t enjoy bell peppers. The most important thing is that they actually take a bite and then make their decision.
- Make new foods a habit for your family. Every few nights, introduce something new with dinner. Every week, find new fruit to add to the fruit bowl. Make new foods a regular occurrence and they’ll be less daunting.
- Model enthusiasm. There may be certain foods that you’re picky about, but be careful to model the spirit of trying new things to your child. When she sees you getting excited about something adventurous, she’ll get into the spirit.
- Take them to shopping. Browse the produce aisle with your kids and ask them to point out a few fruits and veggies they’ve never seen before, and ask them to choose one to bring home and try. We know a little boy who thought that kumquats looked “cute”, brought them home, and now eats them daily.
- Make things special. If you’re planning on serving an interesting new dinner to your family, don’t be afraid to make a fuss. Play some fun music, use the fancy dishes, and prepare something exciting for dessert. Kids will feel more adventurous when they’re feeling excited.
- Remain patient. Studies show that kids need to try a new food 7 to 15 times before they decide that they like it and want to eat it regularly. Keep plugging away and eventually they will come around.
What tips and tricks have you used to get your kids on board with new foods? Share your experiences in the comments section!