Kids can be fussy eaters at any age, whether they’re two or twenty-two; getting them to expand their palette and try different foods can be challenging, even more so if your child has sensory food issues or is neurodivergent.
But should you give up on trying to get your children to try new foods? While keeping to the same old meal choices can be a safe option, being able to introduce new foods, even if they don’t taste them initially, can still be beneficial.
The trick is knowing how to get your child to engage with the new food and taste it without force or pressure to avoid setting your journey back.
Try not to introduce new foods if you are busy or stressed, choose your time carefully so you have enough time to sit around the table, and ensure mealtime is relaxed when new foods are being offered. You don’t want to rush them or force them and have them feel like you are upset with them. So wait until you are able to spend more time dining before introducing the new food.
Don’t Rush Things
Hand in hand with the above point, try not to rush the tasting. If your child is exceptionally fussy, it might need a few appearances at meal times before they are even willing to think about trying it, So don’t get your hopes up on day one. Take your time and consistently bring the same food out to pique curiosity and remove pressure from the interactions.
Allow Them To Shop for Ingredients
Giving your child more responsibility when it comes to shopping for new foods can help them become more acquainted with new foods without setting eyes on them at the dinner table. Instead, they can help you choose the item, and you can talk about what it is, how you will prepare it, and how it tastes if they wish to know. They might not necessarily eat it, but they will know more about it, then some of the mystery of food they aren’t familiar with will be removed.
Get Them To Help Cook
This can vary depending on their age and ability, but getting them involved in the food preparation process can be a good encouragement option for kids of any age. Teach them how different foods go together and how this can change their taste and texture. From preparing full meals or snacks to themed dinners such as Mexican foods featuring this Mexican posole verde soup, make the cooking process fun to encourage trying new foods. You can even get them to create new recipes themselves using the food you want them to try so they will eat it on their terms.
It can be really frustrating trying to feed children who are limiting their food choices intentionally or unintentionally. There are many reasons why your child might not want to expand their taste buds, but benign and consistent with your efforts; staying calm and not making a massive deal of noncompliance can be great approaches to helping you to introduce new foods and increase the likelihood they will pass the taste test.