Get Your Toddler Trying New Food: Why It’s a Challenge
A toddler trying new food can be a little like trying to get gum out of one’s hair. If you do it wrong, you’ve gone and messed the whole thing up and there’s no quick fix to mend it properly.😫 Toddlers are happiest with foods they find familiar. Strange new smells and flavors can be scary.
Part of this can be seen in nature; many baby animals won’t try new things because they learn what’s safe to eat by watching their parents. Deviating from that main course could lead to an upset tummy or worse…
Part of dealing with a picky eater comes from the very first foods you originally introduced your baby to when they were an infant. Children that begin with sweet first foods (such as applesauce) often develop a quick aversion to vegetables because vegetables have very little to no sugar in them. Babies that are introduced to vegetables first have a tendency to be more open about their food choices. However, that is not always the case. Some children are just plain stubborn about what they want to eat.
Before you start feeding your toddler anything and everything, check out a list our friends at the Cleveland Clinic created which highlights foods we should watch out for.
With that in mind, let’s review a collection of tips to help broaden your toddler’s tastebuds so they’ll be trying new food in a flash!
1. Spice Up Sandwiches
If your child refuses to eat their sandwich, try slicing off the crust. Some kids just don’t like crust. If that doesn’t work, try cutting out shapes with cookie cutters. Different shapes make the food more interesting and fun. If that doesn’t work, ditch the bread and substitute something else entirely, like lettuce or tortilla shells! Thinking outside of the box can work wonders when your focus is on getting your toddler trying new food.
2. Get Creative with Food Sculptures!
If you have the time and want to pick up a new hobby, put fresh vegetables, cheese cubes, pretzels and cherry tomatoes into fun, 3-D concoctions for your child. Encouraging creativity at a young age is not only good for building an interest in cooking and baking, but also for use in other aspects later in life such as sculpture art. And to think, your initial goal was getting your toddler trying new food!
3. Just Offer the Same Thing
A more extreme version of getting your toddler trying new food is letting them eat the same thing every day. Many kids just want to bask in their obsession. Eventually they will tire of it. If your kid has a craving for hotdogs, serve ’em up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After about a week your little one will be craving something else entirely!
4. Make Food Magical
Another way of getting your toddler trying new foods is to embrace your inner child. Tell your toddler if they eat the food it will give them magically strong bones or super healthy vision. You’re not lying; you’re simply marketing the food in a new way, which isn’t wrong. Sometimes all it takes is a new approach.
5. Involve Siblings
Have other children? They could be the key to getting your toddler trying new food. Sometimes watching an older sibling enjoy eating the food can be enough to encourage your toddler to try theirs. However, this can lead to horrible things if your little one doesn’t like it. Protests will be heard. Food will be thrown. Though the hungrier they are, the more apt they will be to try a new food.
Just be sure to keep the paper towels or wipes handy. Toddlers are largely unpredictable. They can turn from happy to a raging goblin faster than you can even say lickity-split.
Young toddlers can snack about thirteen times a day. They don’t eat large meals. They just sort of graze throughout the day which can make it difficult to work up a good appetite before scheduled mealtimes. Try adding in some playtime outdoors to increase hunger. A little exercise goes a long way. Even though it’s a bit of extra work, adding some creative flare to mealtimes will help in getting your toddler to try new foods. Plus, it will eventually lead to a healthy, hearty palette that will stay with your child for years to come.
Final Thoughts to Get Your Toddler Trying New Food
With a goal to expose your toddler’s palette to the greatest flavors that have ever existed, you may be eager to get them to try everything, all at once. Though it’s a lofty goal, it can be achieved; just pace yourself and have realistic expectations.
First, presentation goes a long way. The next time you make a sandwich, think about one thing you can change to elevate it and make it more interesting. Consider changing the shape or adding items to make it look like a face. There are so many places you can find inspiration when it comes to culinary crafting, especially when you’re packing lunches.
Next, recognize that sibling opinions carry a lot of weight, as do respected toddler peers and favorite family members. So if you find out that your toddler’s friend really likes a certain type of food your toddler hasn’t tried, try making that introduction during a play date. If getting the kids together is a logistical nightmare, request a video of that special someone happily eating a food you would love your toddler to try. You could even level up by having a video chat where they can eat together. Trying new food + being social = success.
Make each of these ideas your own and recognize that sometimes it just takes time. Like anything in life, trying new food doesn’t always happen when we want it to. But when it does, boy does it feel GOOD!
Healthy Snacks for Toddlers
Tired of rotating the same old snacks? Click here for healthy snack ideas!