I often have parents come in very concerned that their child doesn’t eat enough variety. They like what they like and that’s it. This is especially true if their first child will try anything.
First off, it’s good that they are paying attention. Far too many kids (and adults) don’t eat fresh fruits or vegetables and don’t know that grains come in a different form than bread.
My son is reluctant to try new things. He is fussy about texture, taste, and visual appeal. This is how we have decided to approach it:
– Let him enjoy meal time. We ask him to try it and then if he still doesn’t want it, the topic is dropped. No fighting.
– Repeatedly put foods that he has already tried and not liked in front of him. Someone once told me that it can take up to 10 times before a child sees it as normal and part of what they’ll eat.
– Eat a wide variety of foods as a family in front of him. If we won’t try quinoa why would he?
– Fruit and water are always available in our house. When he decides that he’s not eating supper tonight, he knows that fruit will be available when he gets hungrey. Deserts and treats are not.
– We include him in meal preparation. He is much more likely to try something that he had a hand in preparing. Although it takes longer (especially in cleaning up) it is well worth it.
We put out a veggie tray to snack on before supper. Patrick would not touch it for the longest time (months). Two weeks ago, he decided that he quite likes peppers and carrots sticks.
New veggies are being tried all the time. Beets are hitting the table all the time right now. He won’t eat them yet. But there was a time when he wouldn’t eat broccoli either.