Monday, April 25, 2011

Tips to Get your Child to Try New Foods

Introducing new foods to preschoolers takes time and patience. Generally, children who are unwilling to try new foods have lower intake of fruits and vegetables. But the good news is that repeated exposure to new foods often can lead to children trying them! Remember, it can take up to 12 times of offering a food before the child even tastes it. The important thing to remember is not to give up. Focus on introducing new, healthy foods to your preschooler, and then let her decide when to try them.

Showing your child that you like the food, telling her about the food and giving her a lot of chances to get familiar with new foods can help make feeding more relaxing for you and your preschooler. Offer new, healthy options and make sure she sees you eating these foods too. It may be necessary for you to evaluate the quality of your current diet and food choices in order to improve the health of your family. Serving new, healthy foods is not only great for your preschooler, but doing so will benefit the entire family.

Although every child is different, following some simple suggestions may increase the likelihood that your child will try and enjoy new healthy foods. Try the following suggestions and see how they work for you:

• Make them more available. Keep healthy foods in areas children can easily reach and in sizes, shapes, and textures that are right for their age. Examples include cut-up fruits, like apples and grapes (sliced vertically to avoid choking), or vegetables, like celery and carrot sticks.

• Model good behavior. Kids tend to eat the same foods and in the same manner as their parents. Let your child see you enjoying healthy foods and trying new foods.

• Make positive comments about new foods at meal times. Giving foods fun names has been shown to increase the amount that kids will eat.

• Let your child pick out new healthy foods at the grocery store. Children are more likely to try a food if they are the ones to select it.

• Eat more meals as a family. Eating together in a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere (no TV!) will likely increase the number of healthy foods your child will eat.

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