Does the thought of eating out with your child fill you with dread? Do you hate it when they are invited out for tea because you know they won’t eat properly? It can be so hard when your child or children don’t like certain foods. There are many things that you can do to try and help your child get over their fear or dislike of food though. Here’s some of the top tips we’ve picked up:
Try small amounts of the food, many days in a row – some people say 20. By it being there regularly, it exposes them to it and they may well end up trying it
Eating the food in front of the child – or even sitting with them and eating the same meal will encourage them to eat the same foods. Saying things like how yummy it is will also encourage them.
Offering praise, or even a reward such as a treat or sticker on a chart is much more positive. Saying things like “You can’t have or do this if you don’t eat that” will actually just make them dislike the food more.
Where possible, get them to share meals with other children, whether this is at a picnic or on a play date. Seeing other children enjoying the same foods will definitely encourage them to eat the food.
Getting children involved in food preparation will really spark their interest in the food. Whether they are allowed to choose a recipe, wash the vegetables or even have a say (for example do you want peas or sweetcorn).
A variety of shapes, colours and textures will help them to discover what they like and develop new tastes
Just remember though that liking a food one day and not the next is part of a child’s development. They are finding their feet, learning about independence and investigating their environment. That’s not to say it’s not them being naughty occasionally, but it will normally be a phase and they will get a lot less picky as they grow up.