Are your kids hesitant to try new foods? It is normal for kids not to be as adventurous as adults when it comes to trying new foods; however, many kids just refuse to try anything new, and this can be very frustrating to parents. Don’t give up!
Some households have the “one bite rule” or a “no thank you” rule or another similar tactic when it comes to trying new foods. While these rules are successful for some families, they simply do not work for many parents of picky eaters.
With many parents finding success with our P.E.A.S. Course, where we help parents create a better mealtime environment for their Picky Eater, we’ve found that the following tips from our strategies were most helpful:
#1 Start Very Small
It’s easy for kids to get overwhelmed with a lot of something new on their plate. When you plate food for your child, start with a very, very, small portion.
Most parents serve portions that are too large and this can easily overwhelm a child. The easiest thing for the child to do is avoid trying the new food altogether.
#2 Scale Back on Snacks
It’s easy to think that our kids are eating a small portion of food during snack time and that it surely can’t have much effect on mealtime. Wrong! As it turns out, if you sit down to do a food journal for 3 days of all the foods our kids eat and drink, you’ll notice that they are often grazing throughout the day and eating enough food to keep them from feeling hungry, thus making them less hungry at mealtime.
Creating a mealtime schedule is vital to avoid grazing and snacking too close to meal time. Assess a good time before meals to cut back on snacking, this will allow that your child has an appetite for his meals.
#3 Create a Positive, No-Pressure Environment
Many kids refuse to try foods because they are afraid of disappointing us when they truly don’t’ like something. Or worse, parents have built up so much pressure to trying something by “taking a bite” that a child literally gets stage fright from the pressure.
Pressuring our kids to eat or try new things is not a long term solution. Instead, it causes the child to feel angst towards unfamiliar foods. Creating a no-pressure environment is key for long term success.
#4 Eliminate “One-bite” Rules
Food should be enjoyed and seen as positive for our bodies, and creating rules around food only puts more pressure on the child at mealtime. There is no point in making the child take a bite when his mind isn’t open to enjoying the food. Instead, let them select how much of each item he will eat of the foods served.
#5 Invite Friends Over that Eat More Foods
Parents can influence what a child tries merely by their selection of the foods made and how parents approach food, but no one can make a bigger difference than the child’s friends. Sometimes, all it takes is for a friend to come over for dinner and your child to watch them enjoy the same meal they too are being served. While your child might not like the broccoli, they will get over the hump of trying it just by watching friends eat.
If you enjoyed these tips, make sure you check out these 5 Mealtime Mistakes Parents Make.