It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut with challenging eaters.
You feed them what you know they’ll eat so that you get some food into them, (hoping they’ll grow out of it) then they don’t try other food, so you give up offering new food, give them what you know they’ll eat… eventually clients come to me absolutely sick of being stuck eating the same few foods day after day, cooking multiple meals or concerns about nutrition because their child has started to drop food from their diet that they used to eat reliably.
Don’t panic!! It is possible to break this eating cycle and turn around your child’s attitude towards trying and eating new food. Little Bites evaluates your child’s textural and taste preference and diet and gives you an individual eating plan designed for your child’s needs and aversions. If you want to find out how Little Bites could help your challenging eater you can book a free no-obligation consultation here.
If you’re not ready to take that step yet, here are some tips you can try.
Give them some control
Toddlers and children often start rejecting food as a way to gain control. If you have a slightly challenging eater, giving a choice of 2 vegetables, the colour of the plate, what activity to do after lunch is finished, small controlled choices is the way to go. Without choices your child will keep pushing in the way they know how – by refusing to eat what you’re offering.
Always have options available to try.
If you don’t ever offer new food they definitely won’t try it. Sharing platters, wrap stations and compartment plates and bento style lunch boxes are great for this! A casual “do you want to try one?” can work wonders!
Consistency and fun are so important!
If you make trying new food and eating into a big deal your child will learn that trying new food is a stressful time, their anxiety will grow and they will become even more reluctant to eat anything new. Go slow, be consistent and don’t force it.
Go for textures they like
If you have a child who loves dinner then offer a hot lunch, if they love crackers and crunchy food, offer raw veggies and frozen blueberries and peas. There’s no point making it harder for yourselves than you need to. Once they get started and used to trying and liking new food you can switch up the texture a bit.
Get those kids in the kitchen.
Kids often try food they have helped make, and even more likely to eat it as they’re preparing it (there’s less pressure then). Even if it’s not straight away, preparing food is great for
Some kids make huge leaps very quickly (a client sent me a message to say they started their individual eating plan this week and her daughter’s already eating carrot and kumera regulary and has eaten sausages now too) once they start their Little Bites programme, others develop slowly and steadily. The important thing to remember is that your child finds it difficult to eat new food; they have an aversion or even a fear of “different” food. Celebrate any success because every tiny step forward is better than none and it all builds up to big progress in the future. Even 2 peas a day is an extra 14 peas a week and from there you can build up and up!