Tips on How to Introduce New Foods to Kids
By introducing your children to new foods, you’re setting them up for success in the future. Children who are introduced to a variety of foods are more likely to have a balanced diet later on in life. By introducing them to different tastes and textures during early childhood, they’re less likely to be picky eaters as they grow.
Pair Foods Together
It can be hard to get a child to eat food unfamiliar to them. That’s why pairing new food with their comfort food can help encourage them to try the new food. For example, try pairing food with their favorite dip and drink. For babies, try pairing formula or breast milk with new pureed foods.
Introduce Foods at Snack Time
If you’re worried about your kids not eating their meal, then try introducing new foods as a snack. This is a perfect time to introduce them to entirely new food groups as well. If your child is particularly picky, then try giving them different options to choose from. For example, give them an option between carrots or blueberries. They’re more likely to at least try it if they feel they’ve been involved in the process.
Arguably, one of the most effective things you can do when introducing your child to new food is to eat the food yourself and role model for them. Children are more likely to try a new food if they see you, or the other adults in their life, eating the same foods. It also helps to describe the texture and colors of the food you’re eating as it engages your child more.
Avoid Any Pressure
When it comes to getting your child to try new food, pressure is your enemy. The more you pressure your child, the more defiant they can be. If they’re refusing to eat the new food, then try settling for a taste, touch, or even a smell.
Make Tasting Fun
Typically, kids react positively to fun and exciting things. By making food tasting fun, you’re helping change your child’s attitude towards new things. Remember, while the goal is to introduce them to healthier food, you can also have fun with other food such as ice cream. By making all food tasting fun, your kids are more likely to see food tasting as a fun game.
Don’t Surprise Them with New Foods
One of the best ways to get your child to try new foods is by talking to them. Don’t surprise them with new foods when it comes time to eat. Let them know what they’re eating and try to compare it to foods that they already enjoy.
Rotate Their Foods
One of the easiest ways to get your child to try new foods is by rotating through different meals. Try to avoid giving them their comfort foods daily. We recommend not serving the same meal two days in a row. By changing up what they’re eating, you’re teaching them the habit of eating different foods on different days. This will lay the foundation for introducing new foods.
Having your child involved in the preparation of their meals can be a great way to have your little one try a new food with enthusiasm. When kids have a hand in the preparation it gives them a sense of pride and they will be much more willing to give it a try. As you prepare the food you can talk about the smell, texture, colors, tastes, and how fun it is to prepare healthy meals.
We understand how difficult it can be to introduce your kids to new foods, but it is important to remember, don’t give up! It can take up to 10 tries before your child starts to accept new foods. Continue introducing them to new foods and eventually they’ll grow less fearful of the new foods and end up trying even more foods.
At Rising Stride Child Care Centers, your child will build a strong educational and social foundation – with all the fun of childhood mixed in. Our programs focus on school readiness, social, emotional and intellectual development, and what every child needs – love and care!