This article is sponsored by NatureBox
One of my kids is challenging to feed, so I’m always looking for creative ways to diversify their diet. Here are a few ways I’ve gotten them to try new foods:
I make smoothies with hidden veggies, pancakes with hidden veggies, even cake with applesauce. Most of the time, this works like a charm.
If I serve a new food at a play date when their friend is over, and the friend eats the food without questioning it (or, better yet, gets excited about it), this can make my fussy eater try a new food. I do not do this with established foods that I know my child has decided they don’t like, because they might convince their friend not to like it as well.
Assume they will like it
I keep serving the foods my child has said they don’t like. Most of the time they fuss about it, but every once in a while they realize it actually does taste good.
Have them try a few bites
I usually have my child try a set number of bites, and if they still don’t like it they can try something new. I can usually get five good bites in without too much trouble, barring extenuating circumstances (rough day, overtired child, sick child, etc.)
Make food look attractive
Use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches, fruits, and veggies into shapes. Put food in a range of (natural) colors on their plate.
Use your imagination
Broccoli is so much more fun to eat when you call it “little trees”! My kids adore “butterfly” Farfalle pasta. And “Jedi food” is extra-yummy at the moment; a couple of years ago “dinosaur food” was the way to go!
Find a different messenger
We were sent a trial NatureBox to taste, and the fact that the food came in the mail instead of in the bags I brought home from the store made all the difference to my picky eater! They didn’t finish everything, but they tried all of it – several bites of each food, in fact! Even if a picky eater won’t eat the full serving, having them taste new foods is getting them used to different flavors and textures, and that makes all the difference!
Serve a variety of foods on their plate
I find that my picky eater is less picky when their plate starts off more diverse – and if I place it in front of them already served, instead of putting food on the plate at the table, which allows space for them to protest that a given food should not be served. If everyone at the table has the same foods in similar quantities on their plate, they are less likely to protest.
Avoid making “picky eater” part of their identity
This is tough, especially when one child is consistently more picky than the others, but I think that it’s important to do what you can to prevent this becoming part of their identity. As soon as they self-identify as picky, it becomes a job description of sorts for them, and one they do all too well!
Have them do the shopping
My picky eater came grocery shopping with me on Saturday, and they picked out some unusual foods to bring home – and then ate them happily at home! Doing the grocery shopping gives children ownership over their menu.
Plant a garden
Just like with the grocery shopping, having a garden can help kids feel ownership over their meals. My picky eater doesn’t like to eat tomatoes – except when they come from our garden!
Let them have one or two foods they don’t like
I think it’s fine for a child to have a few foods they don’t like – aren’t there a few things you don’t eat by choice? I teach my kids that it’s fine not to eat it so long as they just leave it on their plate without complaining about the fact that it’s there.
How do you motivate your picky eaters?
Want to give Naturebox’s healthy snacks subscription service a try? They are offering 50% off your first box with new subscriptions right now, and you can cancel any time! We enjoyed the box they sent us, and I really wish there were a way to order our favorite foods from the box in bulk!
Naturebox sponsored this post, but all opinions are my own. The picky eater is also mine.