Getting Started with New Foods
Picky eaters often have preferred foods they eat on repeat. It can be very challenging for them to try any new foods. In fact offering a brand new food can lead to a complete meltdown and refusal to ate any food, even ones they previously liked. Getting started with accepting new foods begins with being able to accept their preferred foods - but with the slightest change. Let's review how this could work for you and your picky eater.
Finally you've found a fruit or a vegetable your kid will eat happily. This is such a relief! I'm not sure why but picky eaters often go for cucumbers and watermelon. Serving the same foods on repeat can actually make picky eating worse. Parents often feel like they have no choice but to serve these preferred foods over & over again. Of course, parents want to serve the foods their kids will eat without a battle at the table. They know that if a carrot or a green pepper shows up there will be ... disgust
The thing is carrots and green peppers are a long way from cucumbers and watermelon. Your child just wants what is familiar and comfortable. They may not have any experience with being successful at new foods. What we need to provide is experiences to be successful with familiar foods served in new ways. This is how you create variety with only a few preferred foods! Win win.
Here are some ways of building success with new foods by serving familiar foods in new ways that are still comfortable.
- instead of cutting cucumbers in a coin shape - use a crinkle cutter
- peel the cucumber in alternating on/off stripes then cut in circles
- cut watermelon in chunks instead of triangles
- use a melon baller and serve with a toothpick
- serve a way bigger chunk than usual
- cut cucumbers in strips and serve in a cup with dip on the bottom
- serve yogurt without a spoon, only watermelon wedges
Preferred Food with tiny amount of New Food:
- long thin cucumber strips with 1 carrot strip
- watermelon chunks with 1 cantaloupe chunk on a toothpick
Play with your Food
- offer cucumber sticks and construct a cabin
- use melon balls to put some round wheels on a banana car
- make a food puzzle using food cutters
- make a funny face on a plate using new and preferred foods (cucumber eyes, watermelon smile and a orange section nose)
New Plate or Napkin
- if all of the above are too challenging, offer the preferred foods in a new plate or with a new napkin
- allow them to chose between 2 new options
The creative options are endless for serving a preferred food in new and exciting ways. Don't forget when you follow the Division of Responsibility in Feeding there is no need to convince your child to eat a new food or a preferred food in a new way. Once you are done offering the food in front of your kiddo, your job is done! All that's left for you to do is sit down and enjoy eating the food yourself.