Raising a good eater is really important to me. There is a lot of research showing that children who are repeatedly given the opportunity to try new foods are more likely to enjoy the foods as an adults. What this translates to is that as parents we have the opportunity to set our kids up for success and can help shape healthy eating habits early on. It also means you can prepare one meal for the whole family everyone can enjoy. No more short order cook status for you- yay!

Be a Role Model

First and foremost, be a good role model when it comes to eating. Talk out loud about why you like foods and why the food is good for you. Avoid saying out loud you don’t like something or making negative comments. If there is something you don’t like, put some on your plate anyways, even if you don’t eat it. Lastly, avoid eating unhealthy foods in front of your kids.

Pair it with Other Foods

Always serve a “safety food” your child knows they like when offering a new food. Avoid the temptation to hide new foods in food you know your child likes. You want your toddler to trust you when it comes to their meals. Be up front and honest about what they are eating.

Provide a Variety, But One at a Time

Let your little one try lots of new foods, but one at a time. Too many new foods at once can be overwhelming.

Portions

Just like too many new foods can overwhelm your toddler, so can large portions. When you are trying to incorporate a new food, offer up a single bite or slice first.

Limit Distractions

It can be tempting to turn on Ms. Rachel during mealtimes, but instead try to focus on the food and the other people around you. Turn off the tv and focus on the meal. Raising a mindful eater early on is so beneficial for their health! Paying attention while we eat helps us learn to recognize when we are full, which is so important for children as they grow. The same rules apply to us, parents!

Explore New Foods

Describe the new foods with your child. Have them explore the taste, smell and even texture! This may mean mealtimes get a little messy, but it is okay! Children will feel more comfortable with new foods they feel they can fully explore first.

Don’t Force It

It can take upwards of 10 tries to get your kiddo comfortable with a new food. You may have to try and try again before they decide to eat it. Don’t give up. Additionally, don’t force or negotiate a deal to get your child to eat the food. You can control what is served and on the plate, but ultimately your child controls what and how much they choose to eat. Have patience and keep trying.

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