Entries in New Foods (111)


5 Different Ways to Teach Toddlers to Try New Foods

Over the years I have shared the secret of successfully introducing toddlers to new foods and it is this: Stop trying to get kids to EAT new foods and encourage FOOD EXPLORATION instead.
  • Eliminate pressure
  • Increase comfort with unfamiliar foods
  • Replace "I don't like it!"
Sensory education is the proven way to give kids more confidence around new foods. Many parents have trouble figuring out how to move beyond, "Do you like it?" Here are 5 different ways to teach toddlers to explore new foods using all their senses. 

5 Sensory Tools

Download a copy here.

~Changing the Conversation from Nutrition to Habits.~

Some Thoughts on How to Actually Change Feeding Strategies

As dissatisfied as many parents are with the way their toddlers (or even older kids) eat, the thought of changing strategies can be daunting.

I'd go so far as to say it might even be paralizing. Here are the 6 steps you need to implement in order to achieve the change you desire.

Remember, success comes when you adopt the Habits Approach — or catch the habitude! Eating isn't really about nutrition, it's about shaping behaviors.

1. Recognize that what you're doing works—at least in some way. 

Yes, the way you and your kids interact around food may not be moving your kids towards new foods or a healthier diet...but it does something positive for youThe quesion is, what? For most parents, the answer is straightforward: It gets the job done! In other words, you feed the kids the way you do because it prevents hunger, prevents conflict, enables you to use food to express love...the list goes on. Read What's It to You?,  What's Holding You Hostage, Soccer Mom Syndrome, and, for my own confession on this topic, Cookie Love.

2. Prioritize problems. 

Trying to tackle too much change at once is a recipe for disaster. Remember, this is a system that's giving you some stability. Make a list of everything you want to change. Then, recognize that many problems (your child won't try vegetables) harbor other problems (your child won't try new foods).

Then, prioritize which problem you will tackle first. There's usually a logical sequence. For instance, it makes sense that you have to teach your child how to be more comfortable trying new foods before you can get her to eat more vegetables.

Read Baby Steps and the Step-by-Step Guide to Introducing New Foods series.

3. Gather strategic ideas.

Watch how other parents handle similar situations. Get expert advice, i.e. read It's Not About the Broccoli!. Don't compare as a way to bring yourself down. Instead, consider how/why other strategies work.

Then, try some strategies on for size—but only in your mind. This mental exercise will give you valuable information about whether a strategy has potential to work for you. Not all will. And that's OK. Some parents can let their kids go to bed hungry but others can't. If you pick a strategy that goes seriously against the grain, it won't work. 

4. Plan a course of action.

I can't stress this enough. Make sure you know what you are going to do—the Happy Bite or the Rotation Rule,—for instance. And then, make sure you know what you are going to do when your child won't play along. Here are a few ideas. And here are some more.

5. Stay positive.

Don't let the naysayers into your head. This can happen in lots of different ways. The most common? All kids eat this way. You just have to wait it out. 

Yes, all kids go through developmental stages. No, you don't have to just wait it out. Read Parenting Myth: It's Good to Treat All Your Kids the Same Way. Actually, It's Not.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~


When Should You Feed Your Kids Exactly What They Want?

You've probably heard, even from me, that you shouldn't let your kids dictate what they eat. Don't be a short-order chef!!!

While that sounds simple, teaching kids to eat right isn't! And, there are always exceptions to every rule!

© illustrart/DepositPhotosIf you're unsure about whether or not to give in to your toddler's feeding demands, here's what you need to consider before making your decision. 

When to Say Yes to Your Child's Food Requests (Demands?)

1) Your child is generally a good eater and she just has a hankerin' for something.

2) Grandma likes to indulge your child and she only visits occasionally.

3) It's the holidays and some other special event.

4) You share menu planning in your house, kind of like a round robin.

5) You're taking the week "off" from introducing new foods to reduce pressure at meal times. Read more about hitting the "reset" button on interactions around new foods.

When to Say No to Your Child's Food Requests (Demands?)

If the time doesn't align with one of the "When to say yes" pointers, ask yourself these questions:

1) Is making food demands a nighly occurrence?

2) Will giving in to your child help her learn something positive, such as her cravings are taken into account from time-to-time? Or, will it teach your child that food is a viable area to exert control?

3) Will giving in to your child's demands cause too much overload for the cook? If so, the answer is a definite, "no."

4) Has your child been narrowing his palate lately? If so, then meeting his "demands" will only exacerbate the problem. Consider implementing the Rotation Rule instead. 

5) Are siblings copying this demanding behavior?

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~