Encouraging little ones to try new foods

We often receive queries from Wild Child parents about how to encourage little ones to try new foods. Taste development can be a messy, frustrating, exhausting process. We understand how hard it can be to get them to try anything new, let alone the really nutritious stuff! Try not to stress about it, every little foodie is different and will react in their own way. And remember, a new food can be presented up to 15 times before your child develops a liking for it. Here are a few of our tried and tested tips to get you started:

  • Try introducing new foods at different times of the day when there is none of the pressure to eat - mealtimes can become increasingly stressful if ‘suspicious’ foods are always being presented at the table.

  • If it’s possible, bring your little foodie with you to do the shopping. Discuss the colour, shape and texture of new ingredients and share fun facts about new fruits or veggies. Get them to put the new food in the basket themselves, this will help build some excitement before it ends up on their plate!

  • Get messy! Let your child interact with new food, encourage them to look at it, smell it, touch it, tear it etc. We often discourage this at the table as we are trying to instill good table manners simultaneously but this process of examination can help children establish it as ‘safe'.

  • Get little ones involved in the kitchen, even if it is simply stirring a sauce or sprinkling in seasoning – they are often much more willing to at least taste the end result if they have been involved in making it.

  • When possible, allow your little foodie to serve their own portion; this can reduce anxiety around suspicious foods making their way onto the plate and helps your child feel in control without having to actively refuse anything.

  • Never hide foods on a plate – your child will almost certainly spot it and may start to develop anxieties at meal times. Put a small amount in plain sight, either on the plate or on a side dish for them to try if they feel inclined.

Thank you to Sophie and Natasha for their insightful post. To find out more about Wild Child Kitchen and to try their amazing food please visit their website: https://wildchildkitchen.co.uk