Me: ‘You know, if you eat your carrots you will grow big and strong?’
4 year old child: ‘Really? OK I’ll try it.’ (a win)
Next day – Me: ‘Oh my goodness, did you grow last night?’
Child (big smile on his face): ‘Yes! Because I ate my carrots!’ (win, win, win!)
OK, that may sound pretty easy but I can guarantee it works more times than not, but you do have to pick the times where you encourage trying new foods and serving up food you know they dislike.
Try new foods or foods they are fussy with when they are alert, happy and receptive to you (although we know this can change quickly). They are less likely to eat these foods when they are tired, unwell or teething, etc.
Take them shopping and let them choose a type of food they would like to eat. Depending on their age, limit their choices, e.g. ‘would you like some broccoli or peas tonight?’ They love independence!
Chopping up vegetables and adding them to a pasta sauce or a rice dish is also a winner. Kids usually love pasta and rice dishes (not all children) so you can add vegetables if you feel they need some extra.
Let your child guide what they eat, but don’t give them other foods that they want if they refuse what they have already have been served up. They will know that they can do this again and it will lead to further food refusal until they get what they want.
Its really important to make mealtime relaxing, so making your child eat more than what they want to can be disastrous and lead to bad eating habits. Be sure to tell them they are not getting anything else until later, e.g. snack time or if it is dinner, not until breakfast.
Your child will eventually eat a variety of foods and will try different foods as they get older. Don’t give up. They never give up on you!
Fiona Chapman is a mum of two beautiful boys aged 1 and 4, who also has extensive experience as a midwife and Child and Family Health Nurse. She is passionate about inspiring and empowering parents on their parenting journey in today’s world by sharing her knowledge and experiences. You can find her on her website Passionate Parenting, or follow her on Facebook.