Often when dealing with a fussy eater, it’s our natural tendency to jump straight to our desired end result - and we wave a fork or spoons filled with said new food and try to tempt our little ones to pop the food straight into their mouths or TV to distract them!
The problem with this is, children have a natural tendency to be suspicious of new foods, thought to be an evolutionary trait to help protect us when growing from eating something that may be poisonous! For other children it will be more about gaining some control. So maybe it's no wonder their mouths clamp shut and there is nothing we can say to make that mouth open!
But, exploring a new food in a playful setting, similar to Foodie Tots classes, can be a powerful exercise for a nervous or picky eater. Here are our top five fun ideas for exploring food at home before even thinking of serving it on a plate.
1. Why not get a selection of fruit and veg and ask your child to guess whether they have seeds inside or not? You can create quite a bit of anticipation before chopping up the fruit/vegetable together - smell it, shake it, squeeze it - all great activities to familiarise your child with the fruit/veg and getting them hands on with no pressure to eat!
2. Paint with food - definitely not for the faint-hearted and those that don't like mess, but very rewarding. Explore different coloured fruit and veggies. Blended raspberries make great red paint!
3. Take a trip to the fruit and veg aisle of your local supermarket or farmers market with your child to let them pick out a fruit or vegetable they like the look of.
4. Get them involved in food preparation, often when children help to cook the food themselves they are more willing to try it. Mushrooms are nice and easy for slicing without a sharp knife.
5. Casually ask your child to give you a hand with dinner and ‘pick up these chopped vegetables and put them in this saucepan please'. Often children don’t like ‘wet’ foods, but this encourages them to over-ride this whilst focussed on completing the job.
For more ideas and games consider a term of our classes, which has the added bonus of peer pressure, we often find once one child starts exploring the more unsure ones follow!
Book a trial class here