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Trying New Foods

by bkhoury on July 16, 2009

Getting your child to try all these new tastes and textures can be challenging at times.  I swear sometimes William literally looks at me like I am nuts for serving him something.  The other day I made some brownies and offered him a little bite.  He must have thought I was trying to serve him dirt!  So here are a couple strategies I use. 

Make sure the little ones are hungry.  If they couldn’t care less about eating, they certainly are not going to explore new food.  (See previous food tip regarding over-snacking.)  Be honest with yourself here. It may require some soul searching.  I know whenever I let this happen, meal time is a lot less enjoyable. 

Consider, you may be trying to push textured food to quickly onto your child.  If your child is just starting out, it is a slow process.  Just continue to offer different foods and they will one day “get it”.  Warning:  this is where parents can fall into the carb / puffs trap where all babes learn to eat (and like) are these lovely treats.  The best thing you can do is start early with different healthy food options, especially vegetables and fruit.

Give it a few minutes.  Of course your child’s initial reaction might be utter disbelief that you would have the audacity to serve such a thing as say a brownie.  Usually by taking a bite yourself and then giving it a few minutes to let them express their displeasure they eventually will give it a try. 

Don’t make a HUGE issue out of it.  Move onto another type of food but revisit the rejected food later in the meal.  Sometimes you just have to prime the pump.  And don’t give them too much initially so that it all ends up on the floor.  Don’t let dinner time become a battle of the wills (see below).

On the other hand, don’t be a softy.  If your child knows you are going to always give in and give her a cracker to “fill her up” she is going to play you like a fiddle.  Make it clear that this is the only option.  Remember, kids are pretty self-regulating and will eat if they are hungry.  Oh and they are so smart. 

We try to keep it light-hearted and make trying new foods a game.  Will loves to go “mmmmmm…..”  So I’ll take a bite and say “mmmmmm…” This often encourages him to copy me by taking a bite and uttering the sound “mmmmm….”  We’ve done this so much, now he does it on his own, much to his parents’ delight!

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