5 Ways To Encourage Your Child To Try New, Healthy Foods
As many parents will understand, getting kids to try new food and flavours can be a challenge. Plus, who wants to deal with teatime tantrums at the end of a busy day?
Children, especially little ones, love to eat familiar foods because they’re comforting and safe, so getting them to expand their taste repertoire can make dinner times a struggle. But if you start slowly and take your time, your little one may soon branch out from the usual pasta and cheese and start opting for new, exciting flavours.
We asked food founder and mum of two, Lucy Woodhouse, to share her top tips to help encourage your little ones to try new foods. Lucy’s award-winning brand, Claudi & Fin, is a range of all-natural frozen yoghurt ice lollies, designed with little ones in mind!
Get the kids involved
If you’re looking to switch things up when it comes to the food your children are eating, get them involved. Little ones can weigh, mix and measure. Getting them invested in the food they’re preparing often means that they’re more likely to eat it. When we developed Claudi & Fin ice lollies, myself and my co-founder Meriel, had the kids in the kitchen with us as our chief taste-testers. They loved it!
Watch portion sizes
Over-serving your child, especially when they’re trying new flavours, can be off-putting. So, start small and I mean really small. One small piece of apple, two peas. Remember, new foods can easily overwhelm your little one so keep things small. Why not try putting new foods in smaller dishes or egg cups to add interest, rather than piling it onto a plate.
Combine new flavours with old favourites
If you know they like a particular combination – pasta and cheese for example – add in some broccoli or mushrooms. If they like yoghurt and strawberries, switch out the berries for another fruit combination. The familiarity of the flavours will help as you introduce new combinations. And remember, if you don’t provide the new foods and flavours for them to try, they won’t know that those foods exist.
Now this can be tricky as I know how frustrating mealtimes can be. But really try to stay positive and don’t take things personally! If you keep things relaxed and fun, you’re more likely to have success. Don’t push the foods on them and make sure you explain that you’re introducing them to something new. Thinking you’ll get away with the change without telling them, is often a recipe for failure!
If they don’t like a new flavour don’t worry, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll never like that food. You can always try it again at a later stage.
Why not try them with new flavours as part of an outdoor picnic? Being outside can be distracting (in a good way!). You could even go along to a ‘pick your own’ or to the local market so that the children can pick out what they like the look of. The fresh air can work wonders!
Remember that a toddler may need to try a new flavour up to 15 times before they eat it so look at this as a long-term project. There really is no rush, so take your time and stay positive. Best of luck!
Thank you so much to Lucy for all her tips and tricks on encouraging children to try new and healthy foods. If you want to learn more, head over to Claudi & Fin’s website for a special feature blog written by Sophie, where she talks about "How to establish a healthy relationship with snacks".