HOW TO INTRODUCE NEW FOODS TO KIDS
Children are often picky eaters during the preschool years, particularly if the food is a green leafy thing or a green round thing! Accepting and eating a wide variety of foods happens over a period of time. Introducing children to new foods, like vegetables, takes some creative menu planning and meal presentation.
Here are some child-friendly tips to help introduce new foods:
- When infants are at the stage of trying new foods, offer new foods every few days to see if there are any reactions or allergies. By the time baby is one year old, hopefully, baby has a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and protein foods, including beans, tofu, soft meats and yogurt.
- When toddlerhood (and independent eating) arrives, stick with meal times and avoid filling the child up on cheese crackers and milk, or juice before mealtime.
- Let your child see you try new foods. Children are copycats, so if you model an interest in trying new things, there’s a stronger chance that your child will too.
- The most important tip I can give to help get kids to taste new foods is to make sure they are hungry at mealtime! Halt snacking at least 1 to 2 hours beforehand and even longer for older children.
- If children are labeled as “picky eaters,” guess what? They will be! Let’s stop the labeling and eat with our children the most nutritious meals we can provide.
- Make eating food a fun process, full of encouragement, not threats and scolding.
- Let children choose new foods.
- Help children learn the benefits of new foods, so that they understand the value.
- Make tasting fun.
- Give it time.
Finally, don’t expect children to like everything. Everyone has food likes and dislikes. The main thing is to relax and rest assured that most children grow up to be adults who like a variety of foods. Just keep mealtime a fun and interesting experience.