There is nothing more frustrating than spending the time preparing and planning delicious meals for your family only for one of your children or more of your children to turn their nose up at it. Children refusing to eat certain foods is normal, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. We’ve all been there, and usually the only solution for this is time.
You have to give your children time to get over their fear of certain smells and textures, and you have to give them time to realize that if a carrot is touching mashed potatoes the world will not end. You can bake flapjacks with them and you can get them to make pizzas and there’s a fantastic onion ring recipe at eatingonadime.com, but no matter how much effort you put in you cannot force a child to eat food. Don’t panic though, because there are some simple things that you can do to encourage fussy eaters to eat something new, even if they would usually say no.
- Add something new to their plate. One of the smartest techniques that you can use to encourage a fussy eater is to give them what they want, but make sure they have a forkful of something new on their plate for them to try. While it’s easy to keep making the same meal that you know they will eat, this won’t encourage any tasting. You can introduce as many new flavors as you like by making small switches from beef mince to pork mince or from cheese sauce to white sauce. But often, children will sense it and they will say no before they’ve even tried something because it’s too frightening. Offer a forkful of something to you and encourage that one bite.
- Discuss different meals. If your children who are fussy are old enough to ask for different foods, then discuss with them what sorts of things they would like to try. Sometimes, something as simple as their input being asked is all they need. And you can make it easy. You can get them involved in planning the meals and preparing the meals, you can get them cooking and preparing and serving the dinners they want to serve. All of this will help them to know that food is not frightening and they will be more inclined to try it.
- Don’t bribe the kids. If you want to stop your picky eaters from being picky, don’t bribe them to eat. Instead of doing that, encourage. Make sure that children understand that they don’t have to eat what’s on their plate but it would be great if they did. Trying to force your children to eat all you will do is create terrible relationships with food, and that’s something that you definitely want to avoid.
- Be gentle in your introduction. When it comes to introducing new foods into your children’s diets, don’t be forceful about it. Introduce new textures or new flavors first, and let them get used to and appreciate those new flavors before you move on to something else. You don’t want to create an entire meal that you know they will hate, because all that will do is annoy you in the long run. Make it easy and simple and they will be happy to try something new.