If I had to choose one tip to help with fussy eating, it would be about tasting. For kids to learn to like to foods, they need to taste it. Many, many times, and often many different ways.
We all acquire taste preferences through repeated exposure. Put simply, the more we taste a food, the more we get used it, and the more we like it. It’s how it works for kids, and how it works for adults too.
The more kids taste new foods, the less fussy they will become.
Here are 3 tips to encourage tasting:
Step 1: Serve a small portion with everything on the plate
Instead of serving a big portion of your child’s favourite food, hold off a little. If you want your child to try the broccoli, don’t pile up the mash potato too high!
Kids are always more motivated to try new foods when they are hungry. If there is enough mash potato and sausage to fill them up, they won’t fancy the broccoli.
Step 2: Encourage tasting
Say to your child “Try everything on the plate, eat what you like, and you can have more of what you like if you’re still hungry”.
Make it a rule, so that there are no surprises. Let your child decide how they want to taste it. Maybe it will be a little lick. Maybe a small bite. Don’t demand that they eat a certain amount. Every little taste counts.
It doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t like the taste of a new food. Don’t worry if they don’t like it this time. All that matters is that they have a small taste.
They don’t have to like it.
They don’t have to swallow it.
They don’t have to eat more of it.
Remember, it’s less about eating, and more about tasting. Tell them “You only have to taste it; you don’t have to like it, and you don’t have to eat it”.
Step 3: Offer seconds
Let your child come back for seconds of their favourite food. Praise them for trying everything, and move on. If they didn’t like something, you can say “It’s OK, you might like it next time”.
Your child will become better and better at tasting new foods. If they were previously anxious about new foods, they will discover over time that trying new foods isn’t that scary or terrible after all.
Variety is key, so keep introducing new foods! If your child tastes a wide variety of foods, they will eventually learn to enjoy a wide variety of foods.
How do you encourage tasting new foods at your house? Please share in the comments below.
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