Is Your Child a Picky Eater? Here are 5 Smart Tips to Introducing New Foods
As a parent, the thought of introducing new, unfamiliar flavours to your child might be an exciting milestone, but also a necessary one when it comes to nutrition. At the same time, it can be a tricky task, especially if you have yourself a fussy eater.
However, through patience and with the right steps, you will persevere. Remember, your child’s food intake is crucial within their early years, so this is what you need to know to successfully introduce the right nutrition to their palate.
1. Don’t give up on the first try
Research revealed that children are predisposed to choose foods high in sugar and salt, while being likely to reject new foods in their preschool age1. It can be undoubtedly frustrating but do not be discouraged as it is unlikely that they will stay as picky eaters if you do not give into their tendencies.
Although they may turn away at the sight, smell or taste of something new, it is important you follow through with other methods – this can include switching it up with different food pairings or include the flavour into different recipes.
2. Do not pressure them into it
Did you know that children can be offered a type of food up to 15 times2 before they actually give in? This is why patience is key. It is best to ease them slowly into a new flavour or food, rather than pressuring them into giving in - introducing something forcefully or too fast might work against you.
We suggest introducing the flavour in stages and do not pressure, manipulate or force them on the first try as may give them a negative association with the flavour you are trying to introduce. A research report revealed that parents who have excessive control over their child’s eating habits can actually aggravate problematic eating behaviour3.
3. Lead by example
Children are influenced by those close to them. In fact, a study revealed that the imitation of other people’s eating habits played an important role within their early years4. Further insight uncovered that parental food habits are among the dominant determinants of a child’s eating behaviour, as well as food choices5.
It is suggested that parents act as positive role models to a healthy and good range of food choices6. So, if you want your child to try something new, parents should take the lead and try it first. This way, they may be more willing to let the new flavour into their diet.
4. Improve their tasting attitude
At times, the idea of simply trying out a new flavour can already throw your child off. To combat this, getting your child to be comfortable with tasting new flavours is key, which is why it is important to expose their palate to different flavours.
You can implement this within your daily life through small gestures such as letting them taste your food, experiencing different flavours of ice cream, or fruit with every meal, and so forth – this can potentially improve their openness to new foods.
5. Make food flavours fun
Children are more motivated when their accomplishments are recognised or celebrated. So, why not keep tabs on every new food or flavour they try out? You can opt for printable worksheets of food that they can colour in every time they try something new.
Another easy way is to prepare a chart with rows and columns for flavours, fruits, or other food – use fun stickers to mark each accomplishment. You can even create a food journey, where once they reach the end of each path they can be rewarded with their favourite meal.
Boost your toddler’s nutrition with PediaSure Plain Flavour
With these key five steps in mind, it is finally time to choose your child’s milk. We know it can be a difficult choice finding one they will love. While there are a variety of flavours to choose from, PediaSure’s new plain variant with 0% sucrose might be the right choice, especially for easy introduction to picky eaters!
Not only does it pack the same nutrients as PediaSure’s other flavours (vanilla and chocolate), parents have more options to play around with based on their child’s taste buds, lifestyle, preferences and health needs. With PediaSure, your child will receive complete and balanced nutrition as it is formulated to ensure visible growth results in eight weeks.
Additionally, although PediaSure is consumable on its own as a drink, you can incorporate it into recipes including waffles, smoothies and even ice pops!
1 (2017, February 4). Early Taste Experiences and Later Food Choices - NCBI - NIH. Retrieved November 6, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5331538/
2 (n.d.). Picky Eaters | Patient Education | UCSF Benioff Children's .... Retrieved November 6, 2020, from https://www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/education/picky_eaters/
3 (n.d.). Pressure to eat and restriction are associated with ... - Ohio AAP. Retrieved November 6, 2020, from http://ohioaap.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Gregory_PressureToEat.pdf
4 (2017, July 25). How Infants and Young Children Learn About Food: A ... - NCBI. Retrieved November 6, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5524770/
5 (2018, May 31). Factors Influencing Children's Eating .... Retrieved November 6, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024598/
6 (2018, May 31). Factors Influencing Children's Eating .... Retrieved November 6, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024598/