Your little one has come a long way from a diet of only breastmilk or formula. Now, he eats table foods with the family, just like a big kid. With his newfound eating independence, you’re introducing lots of new foods and discovering that just like grown-ups, kids don’t always love change. How can you encourage your toddler to try a variety of new, healthy foods, while avoiding picky eating? We have some food parenting strategies to make things a whole lot easier.
At this age, your toddler’s taste preferences are still developing, so it’s perfectly normal for him to turn his nose up at a new food. After all, the look, taste and smell are different from anything he’s ever eaten.
It takes time for kids to learn to like new foods with different flavors and textures. So what’s the best way to help your toddler to try new foods? Offering that same food over and over (and over!) again. The more familiar a food is to your child, the more likely he is to try it…and hopefully like it!
- Introduce new foods with old favorites. Seeing a favorite on his plate makes the new food less scary. Plus, if he chooses not to try the new food he will still have something to eat.
- Offer without pressuring. Toddlers are headstrong, so allow him to decide whether to try a new food. Encourage him to try it, but do not force him.
- Offer a small portion. Put a little bit of each food on his plate, telling him what it is. A small spoonful of a new food is less overwhelming than a big helping. If he likes it, you can always give him more.
- Let him see you enjoy the food. He wants to be just like you, so if he sees you loving the new food he’s more likely to follow your lead.
- Try, try again. He may try it; he may not. And that’s OK. Some kids need to see a new food up to 20 times before trying it, so don’t give up.