New Foods to Kids
Whether your kid is a really fussy eater or not, introducing new foods to kids can be challening. I don't think that my kid's are fussy with their eating but that doesn't stop them saying yuk when a new food or meal is given to them! Kid's are naturally wary of new foods and I have recently realised that I have been making a mistake at mealtimes because of this.
Like all busy parents, I will often look for the easy life. This is especially at dinner after a long day at work. We eat together about 90% of the time and it works well. I only have to cook one meal and saves me a lot of time. When planning my weekly meals, I have come to realise I will most likely choose a meal that I know the kid's are more likely to eat. They eat pretty good so it is not like we eat the same meal every day. What I have realised is that I have stopped giving my kid's new foods and meals to try. I think this is because I realised I was avoiding the "yuk" from my kid's at mealtimes.
Why I Need to Introduce New Foods to Kids
One of my sayings when I am talking to parents of "fussy eaters" is that it is about the long game and not the short game. The foods we give our children when they are young and the language around food and how we approach mealtimes can shape your child's eating habits when they become adults. What I realised is by not serving certain foods because I thought they wouldn't eat them meant that they would less likely eat these foods when they got older. Foods with lot's of spice or green sauce pastas are just some of the meals my kid's are not huge fans of.
How do I Introduce New Foods to Kids
The best way to introduce new foods or meals is to always make sure there is some food on the plate that you know your child will eat. Some people call this this safety net food. The safety net food is not there to make a parent feel better that their child is eating something (though it usually does). The safety net food is about making sure your child is not scared of the new food/plate. Feeling afraid of mealtimes and concern that they will be forced to eat something they don't like will only make mealtimes worse. For example when I gave my kids the lamb curry they don't liked I also served it with a veggie fried rice. They weren't mixed together.
Avoid Asking Your Child to Try the Food
When the new food is on the plate and if I get the usual "yuk" I say to my kid's that they don't have to eat anything they don't want to. If they take a bite and say they don't like it then I will usually ask them what they didn't like? Was it the taste? How it felt in their mouth? etc. I don't ask them to try anything and usually leave it at that. It may take 20, 30 or even 100 times for your child to be happy to try the food! That is OK. Your job is done when you provide new foods to try.
Check out my video below where I talk more about how I introduce new foods to my kids.