I have the ultimate picky eater, my husband. During our years of dating and the first few years we were married I tried to get him to try new things. I would try new recipes using ingredients I knew he liked or try old recipes with new ingredients. Nothing worked. He could always taste something that may or may not be there *vitural eye roll*. The flavor was off, the texture was wrong, you name it. I felt doomed to eat the same thing over and over and over again. And as a bona-fide food lover I couldn't be satisfied with that.
So to combat our differences I started making 2 different meals when I got tired of that, we made our own meals when the dishes got out of hand with that, we went out more when our money couldn't take that...I was at my wit's end. We could not continue like this. So eventually we compromised, I made whatever I wanted most nights, and he ate it begrudgingly; some nights we had his favorite staples. Also I kept snacks I know he'd eat on hand that required little to no prep. We had finally made it work. Then we had a baby who was fairly open at first, but grew into a toddler with an equally discerning palate...and again I hit a brick wall. And compromising with an adult is nothing like compromising with a kid. It's a whole new ballgame with no rhyme or reason. They do not accept your rationale nor do they care about your balanced meal sensabilities. My daughter usually wants everything I don't have, and nothing I do. It's easy to fall into the trap of giving in because you're tired and you just want them to eat. I totally get that, and trust me you get no judgement here. There are days my daughter eats goldfish and an apple. But sometimes I have to at least try. So here are my tips to TRY to get your child to try new foods.
Challenge your child to try new foods.
Daniel Tiger has a song about trying new foods because they might taste good. I'm not beneath singing this song to my toddler. I always offer whatever we are eating to my children. And I am not above a good bribe. Try this ______ and you can have more ______. Most times parenting is built on bribes, and I support that lol.
Mix old Favorites with new items.
My little one likes granola. I mixed it with strawberries and Greek yogurt and we found a new breakfast she likes. I don't go too crazy. I try to give her things she can recognize. We've tried eggs several ways, scrambled, with cheese, boiled. Also potatoes, baked, fried, mashed. You get the idea. She's more willing to try things she can recognize. If you want to get fancy you can make food into shapes, I find this usually makes my daughter want to play and not eat. But honestly whatever works.
Let them see you eating it.
I find the easiest way to get my child to try something is to sit down and try to enjoy it by myself. Children are the biggest imitators, and they are constantly watching you. If you eat it they are more likely to at least try it. Sometimes I make her a small bowl like mine, so she can see it's just like mommy's.
Offer more than once.
I always ask my little one to try things several times during a meal. And I keep asking her, even at the next meal. I make new things readily available. I don't force her to eat because I'm afraid to cause an adversion to it...much like my husband and onions. So I just offer and let her make the choice.
Let them get INVOLVED.
Let them pick out new things they'd like to try at the grocery store. You are more willing to try new things if you have a say in the process. Also allow them to watch you cook or prep. Sometimes just seeing what you put in and/or tasting ingredients before helps ease the fear of new foods. My daughter once saw me chopping zucchini while she watched me prepared dinner. I think she mistakenly took it as cucumber, and kept asking for it even as I explained that it was zucchini; but she didn't care. She polished most of it off before I could even cook it. Thus was born a new *whispers* healthy snack option.
Give It Time
Nothing is ever surefire but anything is worth a try. I have found as my daughter has gotten older she's more willing to try new things. Try your best to mix it up and then leave it alone. Most times you're doing the best you can which means your doing fabulous!
**Also these memes are hilarious to me. This is #toddlerlife at it's finest.