Child Wellness: Introducing children to new foods
With most toddlers when they eat, the sweeter the foods the better. To get your child to eat a variety of foods, it starts early and involves the entire family. Marcie Fraser reports.
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"We train our taste. We learn out tastes. No exposure means we never get anything new and parents have to be willing to play that game as well. The whole family has to get connected to this kind of idea," said Ellie Wilson, R.D. and Price Chopper Senior Nutritionist.
Most kids, at some point, worry their parents…tossing food on the floor, not eating enough. How do we know our kids are eating enough nutritious foods?
"One of the first things parents should do about picky toddlers is -- relax. You are looking at a range of food they eat over a week, that really is a better prediction of what they eat in anything they do in a given day," said Wilson.
Make trying new things an adventure.
"Bring them along in a shopping trip with a goal being that you are going to pick out two new things to try together and that if they see you are willing to have an adventure with food, then they will be much more likely to have that adventure too," Wilson suggests.
Get the picky eaters involved.
"Even toddlers can help can mix things. It is a way to get them connected to preparing foods, touching foods, getting more familiar with new things, often if they have made it, they are more willing to eat it," said Wilson.
If you are finding your child won't eat at meal time, are they truly hungry? Keep an eye on what they drink an hour before they eat, even though it might be water or nutritious milk, it may be filling them up. Also, keep snacks to a minimum a few hours before a meal. Keep failing? Try again and again.
"Toddlers and young children are neophobes - they are afraid of new things. Research has shown it can take between nine and fifteen times for children to accept new foods," said Wilson.