One of the things I find SO frustrating about feeding my children a healthy diet is their absolute, non-negotiable refusal to try new foods. How am I supposed to get them to eat all those lovely healthy meals when all they want is pasta, pasta, pasta? It is enough to drive parents crazy.
If you feel frustrated that your children don’t want to eat new foods, you’re not alone. It’s a really common problem and most parents find it a tricky one to deal with.
If it makes you feel any better, it is something to do with our evolution, one of those left over survival instincts. Don’t eat berries that you aren’t familiar with.
They may be poisonous.
The best bits of advice that I can give you are to be patient and to not expect them to try the new food.
Once you have let go of your expectations, you can stop yelling at them to try the new food. Pressuring your children to eat, as tempting as it is, just doesn’t work. Do you think you’d like a plate of worms more if someone stood behind you jumping up and down and shouting:
“They’re yummy! Just try them! Look at how they’re wiggling, mmmm! Delicious!”
I suspect you’re not convinced!
And now, you just feel more stressed and upset about having a plate of worms sitting in front of you.
One great Tip to Introduce new Foods to Kids
This is a great little trick that I tried with great success.
Think dips and veggie sticks. Pick your kid’s favourite dips. (We had hummus.) Then think veggie sticks. I’m not talking a few carrots or cucumber sticks. Go over board in terms of variety…celery, broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper. Any vegetable stick that you can think of.
You’re showing them 5 or 6 different types of vegetables, but you’d be happy if they ate, or even tried one right?
Present them all nicely and just leave it at that.
Present them with lots more than you want them to eat.
Nothing you think?
You’d be surprised.
The babies dived right in. Celeste thought the whole plate was for her.
My 3 year old tried celery. He put it in his mouth and chewed it. He didn’t swallow it, but that’s OK. He’s getting used to the texture and the flavour.
It takes around 15 times of actually trying something to get used to it (and then you might decide that you actually don’t like it.) He has 14 more proper tries to go. Or so.
He spat it out. That’s fine too. The idea is to create a safe-tasting atmosphere. You don’t want your child to be scared to try something new again. If they are allowed to spit it out, they’ll feel much safer and more likely to try something new in the future.
Top Tips for Introducing New Foods to Kids
- Offer lots more variety than you expect them to eat.
- Pick a relaxed time.
- Don’t expect them to like new foods, or even try them.
- Keep presenting new foods. It takes patience and persistence.
- Allow them to spit it out if they don’t like it.
- It takes 10-15 tries to get used to new foods.
- Be a role model and enjoy healthy food yourself.
Helping your children to eat a healthy diet doesn’t happen overnight. It is a long term project that may seem difficult at times, but it’s so worth the effort. Your kids will grow up with healthy eating habits into healthy eating adults.
If you’d like to know more about how to help your children eat a healthy diet, you can sign up for my free video course. It’s a series of really short videos that are sent to you over a few days. Little bite size tips that you can start to implement straight away. You need to put your email in to sign up, and after the course, I’ll continue to keep in touch with my weekly newsletter. You can unsubscribe whenever you like.