Even if I got my son in a head lock to try something he did not want to eat, he’d spit it out. Of course, I’ve never done that but I have thought about it as a way to use humour to ease the frustration that comes from having a child who’s a fussy eater.
We really can’t and shouldn’t force kids try new foods but we can make it easier for them to accept new foods and let them know that we trust one day they will eat a wider variety of foods.
There are no magic bullets but there are lots of strategies that together I think can really help. Here are some of them.
Let your child help plan and pack his/her lunch. Help your child fill in this Plan it! Pack it! Eat it! resource to list lunches and snacks they will eat. Check out the Yummy Lunch Club contests for fun monthly food challenges that aim to get your child involved in planning and packing their lunch while building food skills along the way.
Try new ideas at home first, not at school. Better not to chance an upset child who went the better part of the day hungry.
Start, Try it Tuesdays. Use Make lunch time fun time checklist to identify foods your child is willing to try at lunchtime. Your child can rate them too: thumbs up or down or so-so.
Pair a new food with a familiar food. If your child likes tuna salad but not vegetables they may go for tuna salad spread into celery ribs or as a vegetable dip.
Cook together. It’s the best way to get kids to try new foods and you may hit on a winning idea for lunch!
Keep school lunches interesting with different colours, textures, shapes and sizes, some hot and some cold lunches. Use a krinkle cutter for vegetables. Thread soft foods (cheese, fruit) on coffee stir sticks (kabobs). Send a surprise note from time to time.
What not to do. Avoid pressuring your child to try something new. It can lead to a dislike for that food, yup it backfires – kaboom. Trust that in time they’ll follow your good example and eat a wider variety of food.
Which of these ideas catches your fancy? What has worked for you?
Do you have a question about feeding kids that you’d like me to answer? Email me!
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