Guest post by Dani McBride
Before becoming a mother I had heard stories about how difficult it could be to get young kids to try new foods. After I became a mother I finally learned exactly what everybody was talking about!
When I was pregnant I fantasized about my little one eating all sort of fruits and vegetables and gobbling down all of my healthy homemade meals without any hesitation.
Although I have been fairly successful at getting my almost-two-year-old to enjoy my homemade meals, I do find myself having to take the easy route from time to time and make him chicken nuggets and peas (his absolute favorite).
Not even joking, there was a time that all my son wanted was bread….just bread.
Needless to say it was becoming a little stressful, but it didn’t last forever.
Something I never gave up on was introducing cooked veggies, quinoa, rice and organic meat along with whatever he was obsessed with at the time. Whatever it was that he was wanting, I’d still serve him some of the foods that I was making too.
As an infant my little guy ate SO well.
He was all about baked veggies such as carrots, broccoli, zucchini and sweet potato! I’d let him pick up the little pieces of food of his tray and he’d devour it all without hesitation.
As he got older, he began to get picky, but I never gave up on having him try new foods.
The trick for us was to always feed him what we were eating.
Sometimes he’d be all into it, and other times he’d reject it completely, but consistency IS key! Even when he went through his picky stages.
When introducing a new food, I always make sure to serve it with something he already likes. I also found that serving his food on a plate that does not have the separator helps a lot too.
I learned that my son really enjoyed “mixtures” of food. For example, whenever I made stuffed bell peppers, he really enjoyed eating the stuffing. So I made sure to pack the stuffing with lots of veggies and quinoa and tomato paste and herbs. Then I switched up the mixture foods and began adding different ingredients, after that, I started separating the foods, but with the same flavors and ingredients.
My husband and I always make sure to sit with him as he eats, and feel it’s so important for him to see that all three of us eat the same thing.
We also really love getting him involved in the kitchen! We sit him on the counter while I cook, he watches me make our dinner while all three of us are hanging out in the kitchen.
I let him taste test the ingredients I am using, I let him smell the spices and even let him season the veggies before they go into the oven!
Keeping your kids as part of the meal making process is so important.
It shows them that food is fun and exciting and not just something that magically appears on a plate. Including them on your trips to the grocery store can also make a huge difference. We always make sure to do all of our shopping together as a family (mostly because I need to concentrate and need a spotter when I can’t focus on the crazy toddler running around the store). We let him place the produce in the bags and into the cart and we ask him to grab things off the shelves and add them in.
It’s important to show your little one that food is fun and delicious and there is so much to discover! Letting them explore new flavors and textures will open up their world to new foods and will make it less intimidating as they get older.
As parents, we just need to allow them to experience it all!
A blogger at danimcbride.com and a huge foodie. Loves creating new and delicious recipes. Passionate about living a healthy and non-toxic life. She is a strong advocate for living a Plastic-Free Lifestyle.