As a little one, trying new foods is an exciting new thing to master, however it can also be quite terrifying. Think about it, you’ve never seen this food before, it looks weird, smells weird, little sister doesn’t like it and you’re not very confident in your ability to do this. This is so normal! Typically kids are the fussiest between 1-4 years old and naturally some will continue to be fussy adults and some will grow into great eaters.
If you’ve got a fussy eater, nervous little one, texture/smell sensitive kid or food refuser, these pointers might help:
1. Get them involved in planning your weekly meals – maybe they can choose a new ingredient at the supermarket to inspire the meal or find a great recipe on YouTube
2. Educate them! Explain to them why we need different food e.g. we need carbohydrates for fuel so we can run and play. Explain why there is different fruit at different times of year and that this can help them stay healthy and get a great variety.
3. Be persistent – it can take up to 20 exposures to a new food before they actually know if they do or don’t like the food.
4. Be happy – if you’re stressed about mealtime, generally speaking they will be too
5. Reward them for trying – No this doesn’t mean bribing! But showing them you understand it is hard makes them feel heard and encourages them to continue trying new things (a lucky dip after trying something new every day for the week is a great start).
6. Talk about the food – if they spit it out or say they don’t like it, ask them why. Perhaps it was too hot, too cold, too soft, too crunchy. You might find they actually like the taste but not the texture so you could try making it a little different next time. - even putting on a “detective” hat and investigating new foods before trying them is a fun game – ask them to describe the look, smell, feel etc before they eat it.
If you’re still stuck and need more support, let us know. We’d love to help!