“No! I want French Fries and Pop!”
“I don’t like that”
“I don’t want that sauce!”
These are the sounds of parenthood; at least it is for those who have toddlers with picky-eating habits. This doesn’t always happen over a long period of time either, this can be your child in less than two weeks! One minute you have a toddler who loves trying new foods, then after a few unexpected but necessary runs to a fast-food chain your child screams at the thought of eating anything other than those deliciously greasy and salty French fries. So what can you do when the picky-eaters’ strike? Don’t worry parents; there are some options other than another run to the burger spot. Here are 5 tips on how to get your picky toddlers to try new foods:
1. Start Small
Keith E. Williams, Ph.D. says, “we usually begin with pieces so small that they could literally be blown away.” Start new foods in very small portions, this makes it less daunting and allows you to add to that small amount as your child tries new things.
2. Insist on a Taste, not the Whole Plate
Huffingtonpost.com says, “Since the lesson is about introducing variety, cultivating curiosity and encouraging healthy eating, it’s not important whether or not the kids eat a full plate.” Instead of insisting your child eats the entire plate of food, only insist on tasting each of the new foods on your child’s plate. This is a much less daunting task and allows your child to get used to trying new foods without too much pressure.
3. Try Giving it a New Name
Some toddlers are obsessed with baby things, call broccoli ‘baby trees’ to get them interested in eating them. Some toddlers like fun names, try calling carrot slices carrot coins, or give your toddler some frozen peas and call them green candy. According to whattoexpect.com, “If your toddler loves grapes (cut up) but turns up her nose at blackberries, try calling the berries “bumpy grapes” and watch them disappear.” Use other names you know your toddler prefers like pie, pancakes, candy, etc. This makes food more fun and will help get your toddler to try new food.
4. Try New Things Constantly
Kids will do what they see you doing. If you eat the same things every day, your kids are going to want to do the same. If they see you trying new foods and enjoying your food, they are more likely to try new food and enjoy it themselves. Be aware, mom’s food is always better. Even if you have the same foods on your plate as your toddler, your child may come over and insist on having your plate in place of his own. If this is the case you have done a good job being an example of eating and enjoying your food.
5. Let Them Help in the Kitchen
According to sciencedaily.com, “…children who helped with cooking showed a greater preference for both (vegetables and fruits)… The data also showed that kids who did meal prep and cooking were more confident about the importance of making healthier food choices.” For most families, it is this simple, kids who are allowed to help make the food are more likely to taste and eat the food. Let your kids help in the kitchen if you want them to be less picky about their food.
Picky eaters are hard, especially if they have started getting into a routine of bad eating habits and turning up their noses at new foods. The best advice for parents of picky toddlers is to just keep trying. Try new foods, be an example of healthy eating, start with small portions and let your little one help prepare food.