Babies are culinary explorers willing to sample anything you put in their mouths. But babies that gobbled strained squash can turn into finicky eaters during their toddler years. Food likes and dislikes are common among children; but unless you want to eat hot dogs and spaghetti every night, you'll want to help your picky eater expand his culinary horizons.
At Horizon Education Centers in Lorain County, Ohio, we serve nutritious meals and snacks designed to fuel your child’s body while exposing him to a wide range of healthy foods. Use these tips from our experienced childcare staff to encourage picky eaters to try new foods at home:
- Avoid power struggles. Fill your child’s plate with small amounts of different foods, including at least one you know he likes and one new food. Encourage your child to sample each food but don’t force the issue. Preschoolers can be asked to try three bites before saying “no thank you.”
- Model good mealtime behavior. When you take a bite of something you want your child to try, talk about the food’s color, shape, aroma, texture and taste and invite your child to try a bite.
- Make mealtime fun. Use cookie cutters to cut food into shapes. Serve new foods with a favorite dip or sauce. Decorate sandwiches or pasta with veggie faces.
- Mix foods. Add new foods to old favorites. Mix finely chopped vegetables into meat loaf or spaghetti sauce or add cantaloupe chunks to fruit cocktail.
- Little chefs. Let your child help with meal preparation. Children are more willing to try foods they have helped “cook.”
For more mealtime tips, talk to your child’s Horizon Education teacher.