Provide new and familiar foods together, and start small – a few peas, slivers of carrot or apple, a crumble of cheese. Continue offering new foods, as repeated exposure can make foods feel more familiar and ‘safe’. Remember that it can take many exposures to a food before your child will try and accept it.
Use positive, encouraging language. Avoid pressuring your child to try something as it could create negative associations with the food.
If the thought of introducing new foods at lunch or dinner is overwhelming, try it at snack time instead. Try sending new foods to day care or school and see if they eat it there.
On the school holidays or weekends, invite a playmate who is an adventurous eater over for lunch. Seeing their mate keenly trying new foods or eating fruits and vegetables might be all the motivation a child needs!
You could also try planting a small garden with your child. Many children will be keen to try a vegetable they’ve planted and picked themselves.
When should you seek advice from a health professional?
- If you feel your child’s growth is slowing (not gaining enough weight or is not growing taller)
- If your child is ‘stuck’ on particular textures (i.e puree texture)
- Your child has less than 20 food items they accept in their diet
- Your child avoids an entire food group for many months
Health services for your child and family.