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Introducing Strange Food To Toddlers

by T Akery | July 1st, 2011 | Infants/Toddlers

“Yucky” is the usual response to an introduction of a new food. Oftentimes, this is said before a single bite has been eaten. This is because toddlers are very set in the foods they like and anything strange is immediately rejected. It is very hard to get them to try new things but it doesn’t have to be a battle.

Approach new food with an air of excitement rather than an air of “you must eat this.” It is crucial to set the tune before you place the strange food before your toddler. Emphasize a certain feature that they might enjoy. Usually, color is a big draw for toddlers. But you can also compare the texture of the food to something that they like touching or playing with. Squishy food can be compared to mud. Gross for parents, not so much for toddlers who have a penchant for mud pies.

Creative nicknames for strange foods can entice toddlers to eat. For example, “little trees” is an often used nickname for broccoli. Your toddler might be more open to eating “little trees” than just plain, old broccoli. You want to pick names that toddlers can relate to. Stay away from any complex or fancy sounding names. If your toddler doesn’t know what the name means, they are more likely to shy away.

Part of getting them to try strange foods is to get them to help making it. Personal involvement, even if it is a little messy, will give them an extra incentive to try it after it is done. The sense of “helping” and sense of accomplishment are great motivators in getting toddlers to try the strange food.

If possible, try to introduce the strange food at the beginning of their meal or at snack time when they are hungrier. They are more likely to try it if it is all by itself and they are hungry. If their other favorite foods are on the plate, then they will more likely avoid it. You can always give them the stuff they like after a bite or two.

Finally, be patient. It takes time for toddlers to begin to like strange food. It won’t always be a success on the first, second or even third tries. The trick is not to turn it into a big contest of wills between you and your toddler. This is one battle you will likely wind up as the loser.

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