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Q:

How can I encourage my child to try new foods and expand their palate?

I am a mother of a very picky eater. My child only wants to eat the same few things over and over again and I'm worried that this will limit their nutrition and enjoyment of different foods in the long run. I have tried introducing new foods and getting them to taste it, but my child always refuses or spits it out. I'm running out of ideas on how to encourage them to try new foods and expand their palate. Any tips or tricks that have worked for you?

All Replies

ilene31

As a parent to a picky eater, I've discovered that getting creative in the kitchen can be a game-changer when it comes to expanding a child's palate. One of the successful techniques I use involves reinventing familiar foods and flavours. For example, if my child loves pizza, I switch up the toppings and ingredients slightly, add vegetables and spices that they might not usually try on their own, and make it an inclusive and interactive experience for them to help make the pizza. That way, when they eat the new flavor, it already seems familiar in some way, and there is a chance they might like it.

Another thing that has worked for me is persistently reintroducing foods my child initially refused and making it a consistent and steady process. Sometimes, exposure is all a child needs to become comfortable with new foods. So, I continue to offer the foods in different forms, for example, cooked, raw or as a dip, giving them control over how they want to eat it. Reintroducing food in this way will force them to examine and try them again, eventually leading to acceptance.

Lastly, it is essential not to give up on your child, and avoid pressure tactics or negativity, as these may make mealtimes more of a fuss than it needs to be. Patience, practice, and positivity are the key ingredients to success, so keep the meals enjoyable and fun, even when trying new food, in the end, children will learn to love new foods, and it will be a win for you both.

libbie.collier

As a busy working mom, I understand the challenges of preparing meals for a picky eater. One of the things that have worked for me is meal planning and meal prepping. By planning and prepping meals in advance, I can ensure that we have a variety of foods available to my children, including new and unfamiliar ones. Also, I've noticed that when I offer options, it takes the pressure off my child, and this seems to make them more open to trying new things.

Another technique I've found useful is making meals into a fun and exciting experience. For instance, letting my children help me in the kitchen with the cooking, even if it's something simple like stirring or measuring ingredients. When they are part of the cooking process, they become more engaged and invested in the outcome of the meal. They also get to learn about new ingredients and have a sense of pride and ownership in what they've helped create. I also use fun tableware and plates to make the meal more interestion to them.

Lastly, I always praise my child for their efforts and remind them that it's okay if they don't like the new food at the first try. I also keep in mind that taste buds are constantly changing, so I will be reintroducing the same foods when a good amount of time has passed. With time, patience, and a little creativity, it's possible to help picky eaters expand their palate and have a more balanced and nutritious diet.

nienow.katrine

As a registered dietitian, I believe that encouraging children to try new foods is crucial for a healthy and well-balanced diet. One of the effective techniques I suggest to parents is offering a variety of foods. When children have multiple options, they are more likely to try new things, especially when paired with familiar foods they already enjoy.

Another effective technique is introducing new foods in a fun and interactive way. You can get creative with the presentation of the food, use food artistry to make it more visually appealing and attractive to the child. When introducing new foods, also keep in mind the age of the child and serve food in age-appropriate sizes and shapes. Children usually respond better to small portions and may feel intimidated when presented with large servings.

Lastly, it's crucial to understand that children often model their parents' eating habits. By providing positive reinforcement and making healthy food choices yourself, you can set a good example for your children and encourage them to try new foods. It's also essential to involve children in the meal planning and grocery shopping process, so they learn the importance of a well-balanced diet and become more excited to try new foods. With patience, persistence, and a positive attitude, your child can develop a taste for new and healthy foods.

hulda77

As a grandmother to a picky eater, one of the most influential things that have worked for me in the past is implementing a reward system. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture, but a much-awaited treat can sometimes be the perfect incentive to get a child to try a new food. I offer a small reward like a few minutes of extra screen time or a favorite snack once they try the new food. However, it is also essential to encourage positive behavior over the bribe. You don't want your child to feel stimulated by gaining something instead of experiencing and exploring new foods.

It is also important to remember that every child is different. What works for one child may not necessarily work for another. Some kids need a gentle push, while others need some gentle persuasion without pressure. So take time to learn your child's character and personality, and adapt your approach accordingly.

Lastly, and most importantly, always have an open mind. Children know when they are being pressured or judged, and that could make them defensive or anxious around unfamiliar foods. So be patient, observe, and be willing to understand their point of view. With enough kindness and perseverance, even the pickiest of eaters can expand their tastes and broaden their palates.

karlie05

As a fellow parent of a picky eater, I can definitely relate to your struggle. What has worked for me is involving my child in the meal planning and preparation process. I let them help me choose recipes and take part in the cooking process. This not only makes them excited to try the final product, but it also helps them to feel more connected to the food and more willing to try it.

Another thing that has worked is introducing new foods in small portions as part of a meal that includes familiar foods. For example, if my child likes pasta, I would make a pasta dish with a small side of a new vegetable. That way, they can try it without feeling overwhelmed or forced to eat a large serving.

Finally, I try to model adventurous eating myself and make trying new foods a positive experience. I talk to my child about the different flavors and textures of the food we're trying and get them to do the same. It's still a work in progress, but I've definitely seen some improvement in my child's willingness to try new things.

gmarquardt

I have two children, both with entirely different palates. One of them is happy to try new foods but the other finds the idea of anything different very intimidating. To encourage my picky eater, I have tried to normalize trying completely new things and give a lot of praise when they do. It's also essential to instil in them that it's okay not to like something and that it doesn't reflect on them as a person. Forcing anyone to eat something they don't want will usually make the issue more challenging to crack.

I have noticed that children are more inclined to try different foods if their friends attempt it too. I think peer pressure can be helpful in circumstances like these, where conformity presents itself as a beneficial thing. Also, try making the food look attractive to the child in question. Adding a fun twist, like cutting carrots into appealing shapes, can distract your child from the possibility of not liking the meal and keep their attention for more extended periods.

Remember, it's important to be patient and not bombard your child with unfamiliar foods all at once. Slowly introducing new or more-adventurous foods over an extended period can make all the difference. When you make mealtimes less of a battle, it can be a relief for parents and enjoyable for kids too.

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