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5 ways to help toddlers try new foods

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, which can be endlessly frustrating. Picture: Pexels/RDNE Stock Project

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, which can be endlessly frustrating. Picture: Pexels/RDNE Stock Project

Published Oct 30, 2023

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Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, which can be endlessly frustrating to parents or guardians especially when it seems they are always turning up their noses at the healthiest picks on the plate.

Do not despair. Instead, try these tricks to get your little one to sample some new foodstuff.

How do you know if your child is a picky eater? A picky eater eats a limited variety of foods and they resist trying new foods. For example, a picky eater might eat the same food over and over and refuse to eat any other foods.

Picky eating is often considered “developmentally appropriate”. It’s something many children experience between the ages 2 and 4.

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, which can be endlessly frustrating. Picture: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

Start small

When introducing a new food to your child, give them just a little taste the first time. Studies have shown that offering even a tiny portion is an effective first step in – overtime – getting kids to eat new foods.

Get them in the kitchen

There is nothing like handling and combining ingredients to help children understand the foods they eat and inspire them to be inquisitive about the ingredients being used.

Younger children can help with weighing, mixing and measuring jobs, gaining more responsibility as they get older. The more invested they are in preparing the meal, the more likely they are to eat it.

Try to make it yummier for them

You might like to keep vegetables really simple, but do not underestimate your kid’s palate. Flavour is good and it might be the gateway to helping toddlers learn to eat the foods plain down the road.

So let them taste the sauce, add herbs and spices and learn what they like. They may also like dips.

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, which can be endlessly frustrating. Picture: Pexels/RDNE Stock Project

Also, try to make it fun

Get creative with the presentation of new foods and your little one could be persuaded to try a few bites. Make faces out of food, cut fruit and vegetables into various shapes, and make pancakes into faces with cookie cutters.

Try serving bite-sized food your toddler can spear with toothpicks. Get fun plates with compartments and cups with silly twisty straws.

Do not force it

Studies also reveal that kids react negatively when pressured to eat food. And in the long run, it does not help them like new foods. Neither does negotiating or offering rewards. Be patient, stay positive and think long-term.