“Doctor – my child just refuses to try any new food”
This is something I am used to hearing very often.
Getting children to try new foods - like them and begin to eat them without a fuss are dreaded uphill tasks for most parents.
Battling children is an exercise in futility for parents and should be avoided at all costs.
If parents want children to eat different foods - it is important that they understand what food REALLY means to children. And, it is my endeavour to explain to this to parents - in my nutrition workshops.
For children – food is a sensory experience. They focus on experiencing food with their five senses.
Food needs to look good to them. It needs to smell good. They need to squish it with their fingers and smear it on their faces before they allow their tongues to taste it.
But when they offer new foods – how many parents actually allow this?
Ugly mushy spoonfuls that can be rapidly pushed down the throat and disseminate nutrients are what parents focus on providing in the early years.
And since what is familiar - appeals to the senses – by the time parents offer new foods - the sense organs of the child are comfortable only with mush. And so they refuse to eat anything else.
In situations like this it is important for parents to be patient with new foods.
Children are likely to require repeated exposures to a new food before they take the first bite.
To encourage children to eat new foods – it is important to talk about the colour of the food, the shape, the aroma and the texture.
Just touting the food as tasty is unlikely to make a child try it.
It is also important that children watch their parents enjoy the experience of eating something that he /she is being offered.
Appeal to all your child’s senses – they will persuade your child’s taste buds for you.
Focus on enjoying and savouring every meal.
Turn into an epicurean family!