Q. What’s the best way to get kids to try new things, like new vegies?

A.

When feeding kids, I think there are two important things to remember.

Be persistent and consistent. 

It is quite common for toddlers and young children to start exerting their independence by refusing certain foods, or frequently changing what their favourite food is. One week it’s cheese toasted sandwiches, then the next they hate cheese, but want strawberry jam, no crusts! Sound familiar?

When introducing a new food to a child, the key factor is repeated exposure. It could take up to 15 times before a child even samples the item, so don’t give up.

  • Continue to place a small amount on the child’s plate, for example one broccoli floret, so as not to overwhelm. And as you have probably heard before, try not to make a fuss. If the child refuses the item, gently remind him/her that it will stay on the plate until they finish the rest of the meal.
  • If it is a vegetable that you are introducing, try cooking it differently as some children prefer different textures, much like adults! You could roast, steam, boil or bake.
  • This last tip is a tried and trusted method, if all else fails, hide the vegetables! It will be much better for the child long term if they do accept and eat vegetables once sleepovers, school camps and parties start happening. But if this is just not happening, permission to get sneaky is granted. Try grating carrots, onion or zucchini in a spaghetti bolognaise or lasagne. Puree vegetables such as roasted beetroot or sweet potato and add feta, or try using avocado in a smoothie. Grated beetroot also hides really well in chocolate cakes or brownies.

Remember that is is normal and healthy for your child to put up resistance, so you are not alone! Remember to maintain control.

For more tips be sure to check out a blog on health eating for children, titled Little Tummy Tucker. The articles are written by Kate Di Prima, a very knowledgable Dietitian who writes on fussy eating and has a book titled More Peas Please, available from Allen and Unwin.

I’d love to hear if you have any of your own tips?

Thanks for stopping by, Madeleine.

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