Three Tips For Encouraging Your Children To Try New Foods

According to a recent study, 50% of children are described as “picky eaters” by their parents. While our palettes tend to grow as we get older, it’s important that you encourage your children to follow a healthy, balanced diet – which means it’s important that they have diverse tastes.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Why is a healthy diet important for children? 

While following a healthy diet is important at any stage in life, it’s particularly important during our childhood. This is because “everything from basic brain function to behavioral patterns can be influenced by the diet a child eats.” For example, a healthy diet can: 

  • Ensure children get enough sleep
  • Provide them with the energy they need to thrive
  • Boost their mental and physical health 

Four Tips For Encouraging Your Children To Try New Foods.

Add unique touches to their favorite dishes. 

One of the easiest ways to encourage your child to diversify their appetite is by adding a unique touch to foods/dishes they already love. For example, if they love mac and cheese or similar dishes, consider making cheese sauce and serving it with vegetables such as cauliflower instead. Alternatively, adding diced cauliflower to traditional mac and cheese could be a great way to ensure they’re getting their five a day, even if they don’t realize it.  You can learn how to melt cheese for this dish here.  

Let them help in the kitchen. 

Letting your children help cook their food can be another great way to encourage them to try new foods. This is because it makes the process a lot more fun, and they are less likely to feel overwhelmed when you sit them down at the dining table. Furthermore, it gives them the chance to ask any questions they might have about the food you are creating.

On a similar note, letting them find recipes for you to try gives them a sense of agency that makes them feel more ‘grown up’, and can again make it easier for you to encourage them to try something new. 

Lead by example. 

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to set a healthy example for kids, which means that in order to encourage them to try new foods, you need to lead by example. For example, you should regularly try out new recipes that you have never cooked before, and make it clear that you are trying them for the first time too. This can make the idea of something new seem a little less daunting.

Don’t be too pushy. 

If you are overly pushy when encouraging children to try new foods, you only increase the likelihood of them resisting or avoiding trying new foods in the future. Instead, make gentle suggestions and continue to lead by example. You can also make this process a little easier on them by introducing new foods once a week instead of at every meal time, so the process of expanding their palette is much more gradual. You can also ask them to choose one or two meals a week (as discussed above). 

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