>
our gift to you

Feed them right from the start

Phone: +61 2 8959 5730
our gift to you

Feed them right from the start


How to Encourage Fussy Eaters to Try New Foods

Posted by Mandy Sacher on May 18, 2015

Posted by Mandy Sacher on May 18, 2015

Mealtimes should be a fun-filled family affair, but all too often they become more like a battleground than a picture of domestic bliss. Kids of all ages reject their food, throw veggies and cause parents high stress. Getting a fussy eater to try new foods can be a challenging process, so keep in mind that the end goal is to instill a sense of enjoyment for eating, which can take time and requires patience and commitment from the whole family.


Here are Wholesome Child’s top tips on how to encourage fussy eaters to try new foods…

  • Desensitization– encourage your little ones to touch, smell and engage with their food. This starts in the grocery store – can they push the kid sized shopping carts available at some stores around the aisles? Can they help take items off the shelves? Encourage them to pick up a carrot, an apple or a zucchini from the shelf and place it in the basket or trolley themselves. This begins the engagement with new food.

Can they put the dish or new veggie onto the table for the family to eat? Don’t be disappointed if they don’t eat the new food the first time it’s offered – stay positive and freeze what’s not eaten and offer it again – repetition is key.

  • Try, try and try again– it can take up to 16 times for a child to ‘like’ or even just accept a new taste, so stay positive, stay calm and keep trying. The first time your child may not even want to look at the new food, next time they will sight it but not taste it, the third time they may touch but not taste and so on.

Making foods familiar by repeatedly offering them in a calm environment will aid the process of engaging with new tastes and flavors. You can also try offering them the same food in different ways – cut into fun shapes, laid out in color patterns or steamed rather than raw, for example.

  • Fun and games– bring some fun and games to your dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) table by creating stories with your food, reward positive behavior and try to limit reaction to negative attitudes. As hard as it is as a concerned parent, try not to focus on what your child is eating but how they’re feeling at the dinner table and help create a positive atmosphere around mealtimes. Simon Says is a great game to play with younger children, for example, “put a bean on your nose”, ‘throw a pea in mommy’s mouth” – these are excellent techniques to help kids touch foods they ordinarily would struggle with.
  • No pressure– as hard as it is, force feeding and pressuring children to eat only creates stress and negativity around ‘difficult’ foods. Try to create a sense of trust around the table, and engage them through play. Detective games about colors, shapes and tastes will ease tension and allow some giggles and joy to return to mealtimes. With younger babies, encourage self-feeding rather than forceful spoon feeding and talk to them about the colors, tastes, what animals eat these veggies and where they grow.
  • Cooking with your children– just as we all try and cram in activities such as swimming, sports and dancing into the after-school routine, with fussy eaters, try and make cooking a regular after-school activity. Invite a friend around (who is perhaps more adventurous than your own child) and have a cook-up of a new dish which you’ll eat together for dinner. This is a great way to introduce new tastes and often kids are more willing to try new things with their peers.

Remember, some fussy eaters are actually problem eaters and may require professional intervention to help both child and parents. If you think your child has a more severe eating issue, contact Mandy Sacher to chat about your concerns.

Share this on:


Share this on:


Other Posts