Mealtime should be an opportunity to introduce your young ones to foods they don’t normally like, or eat. If you’re looking to encourage your kids to try something new, you might want to try these ideas:
- Be Consistent with the Time and Venue
In order for kids to feel comfortable with trying new things, you have to ensure mealtime is a similar, structured experience. Serve the meals at the same time every day and use the same routine. Get them to wash their hands, pull out their chairs etc.
Give them notice for how long they have to wait before lunch is served (e.g. “Three more minutes until we have lunch. Yay!!”)
- Sit upright
Posture is essential to any child growing up, but during mealtime, it’s even more important. Make sure that the children have a stable posture, which means ensuring they are sitting in a supportive chair and their feet flat on the ground.
- Start small
Start off with small servings – particularly if you’re introducing them to new tastes and flavours. That way there’s little risk for wasted food. It also helps them to understand when they’re full and restrict overeating. Remember, you can always serve them again if they want more.
4. Mix it up
If your child has had a limited diet, start introducing them to new foods slowly and in small amounts. It’s best to serve them one of their preferred foods at each meal, plus one new food for them to try- to avoid stories that touch.
- Let them Feed themselves (Sometimes)
Children should be encouraged to feed themselves as much as possible. And, where appropriate allow the children to serve themselves.
- Be a Role model
Children will always look up to you for leadership. So when possible, try and eat together.
This will create a role model for them to mark their healthy eating habits against. When they see what you’re eating and the new foods you’re trying, it makes it easy when you’re trying to expose them.
- Praise them
Nothing sparks encouragement more than verbal praise. If you notice your kids becoming more interested in the new food you introduce to them, then encourage them positively. Whether they’re looking at the dish, touching it, smelling, tasting, licking and of course, eating it! Mealtime should be a sensory experience, exploring the different ways you can engage food.
- Time keep
There’s nothing worse than sitting by your child, waiting for him/her to finish a meal. According to SDN Beranga, mealtimes should last no longer than 30 minutes. Also, ensure you create a clear routine for the end of each meal or snack: the table is cleared and their hands are washed.