Incorporate two or more new foods
Creatively introduce new foods
Try using some techniques to reduce negative food associations and build your child’s confidence and familiarity with new foods, gradually. A first step could include just playing with food when there is no pressure to eat it; for example pretending to feed their toys or playing ‘cafés.’ You can also make this exercise into a game - giving something a lick, trying one spoonful etc. With older children you could do a food quiz together, where they have to try a small amount of a new food and rate it out of 10. At the end of the week, you can then review the scores for different foods together. As children’s confidence in trying new foods grows, they may even like to do blindfolded taste tests for added fun!
With older children, describe to your child how the new eating programme will help them in a range of ways; the first being to help them develop more positive associations with food.
Remember you may have to offer a new food between 10-20 times before your child accepts it (though they may never like certain foods).
Top Tip: Fun ideas to try Sometimes, simply calling foods by a new name can help to break down barriers. Children who claim not to like peas with their lunch or dinner may find that ‘petit pois’ are acceptable.
Those who avoid sweetcorn from a can may love it when they can hold a corn on the cob and nibble from this instead.
Taking children shopping can also help to familiarise them with ‘new’ foods, and tempt them into trying them.
‘Bugs Bunny’ carrots, that still have their green shoots on, are a bit pricier than an economy bag of carrots, but the ‘theatre value’ can be just what is needed to get children to give them a go. Once carrots become a familiar part of mealtimes, you can go back to your usual choices.
Trips to farmers markets, allotments and growing your own vegetables, even if it is herbs in a window basket, can help children to get interested in new ingredients. This can make them keener to try, as of course can getting their hands stuck into helping with the cooking.
Breaking an egg to make scrambled eggs, pushing dried fruit into the core of a cooking apple to be baked, or grinding up some pine nuts to make a pesto, can help children to be more inclined to try the finished dish.