Mealtime is a boring time for most toddlers. Introducing new food items and flavours to your little ones is a bit challenging. They generally eat what they are accustomed to, so when it comes to the matter of nutrition like fruits and vegetables they are scared to have it and are uninterested in it. Therefore parents must be very conscious in introducing new food items.
Here we have step-by-step guidance and ways to get your toddler trained to try new food. This will even turn your fussy eater into an adventurous one.
1. Begin with dinky pieces of the food item.
Tasting the food item is much easier than eating it. Let them savour the flavour at first. Offer them in tiny pieces. If they like it at the first attempt, then slowly increase the amount day by day.
They may not like it on the first day itself. Don't worry. Be patient. Keep on trying for some consecutive days. The taste buds could get accustomed to the flavour and they may accept it.
Even after several attempts and endeavours if they resist eating it, let it be so. It is ok if they dislike certain food items. Do not pressurise them, instead opt for an alternative.
2. Combine old favourites with new ones.
Serve them their old favourite food and a new food item on one plate. Ask them to try the new food first. Tell them if they like the former and finish it off, then only they would get a chance to have the latter. Due to the love of the old one, they may show some interest in new dishes and slowly develop a liking towards it.
3. Start Rewarding.
Children feel encouraged to do any work when they are rewarded for it. Every time they try something new, reward them with stickers and badges. This is the best way to start with and you will see that they would be very keen to taste many things.
You can also cheer them up by saying good words like, “Bravo you did it.” “You are the best.” and simply applause for them. This will keep their spirits high.
The most common and funny game for toddlers is to imitate their parents. They make a spoof of their older ones. Use their mimicry in mealtime. Keep the food on two plates one for yourself and the other for your tiny tot. Now eat it in front of them and allow your child to follow you. It is more likely that they would relish the food while playing the copycat game.
5. Story session.
Imagination is the most powerful aspect of a child. Dream world, fairylands and wonderlands are most popular among children. Make their mealtime a storytelling session. Associate the food items with stories. For example, “Mr Potato and Mrs Tomato are fond of children. Their palace is stuffed with carrots. Help them out by gulping down some of them so that they can move around freely.” These simple made-up stories will make your child fond of any and every food item.
6. Picture books.
Visualising before tasting will help a lot. Show them the pictures of the desired food item every day. Make them believe that it tastes good. Then suddenly present the dish in a manner that it seems to have been popped up from the book. They would think it to be a magical dish and enjoy it happily.
7. Colourful foods.
A simple dish can turn into an extraordinary one by garnishing it. Try to serve a neat and colourful plate for your child. For example, pink dragon fruit, yellow mangoes, green lettuce. These colours are eye-appealing and impressive. The plate looks less scary and friendly. You can also stick them up in a toothpick or so to increase the innovativeness.
8. Sneak peek.
The best and most effective way to try out new dishes for your child is to disguise them. For instant eggplant can be used as a pizza topping and fruits can be mixed with ice creams.
Like this children would start to cram down those items that they had disliked before and even have the new ones.
9. Blend it out.
Many food items are too boring to chew like spinach and some solid forms of the food could be displeasing to your little one. In that case, just blend it out. You can use cocoa powder, milk or syrup to enhance the flavour and children would love to drink them. All of the nutrition is kept intact and gets ready in very little time.
10. Funny names for the dishes.
Funny names are attractive and attention-seeking. “Squishy peasy noodle doodle” sounds more thrilling and tempting than only “pea noodles”. These very small changes will win your tiny tot's heart. They will enjoy whatever they had rejected before and will enjoy the mealtime.
11. Hungry time.
Instead of introducing a new food item in the form of snacks, serve it in the main course. It is the time when they are hungry the most. They might have an appetite to try out the new ones without complaining much.
12. Cook with them.
Take your sweetheart in the kitchen and let them observe the cooking process. Sometimes listen to their little demands in cooking, like adding tomato ketchup or any special dip. This will create a bond between the food and the child. They may feel that they have cooked the food and it must be eaten. Hence they would be more eager in trying out new food items.
All the necessary nutrients must be given to your darling tots. It will ensure their proper growth and provide them energy. Little differences in the food item can please your toddlers and make them more healthy and happy.