Encouraging your tots to try new food

Did you know that an infant has around 30,000 taste buds in their mouths, compared to an adult who has about 10,000?

Therefore, a child’s eating experience is incredibly sensory. These taste buds are constantly developing and changing with age.

However, even when you know this, as a parent, you still worry about your little ones eating habits, even more so if your child is less adventurous with food. I do not like using the term ‘picky eater’ because developing tastes takes time. Research shows that children need to taste a new food on average between 7 to 12 times before accepting it.

Here are a few ideas that may help to support your child’s developing eating habits:

  • Let mealtimes be social and fun family time rather than a stressful battle. As a child/adult, we link tastes and experiences together so making mealtimes happy will support a positive association.
  • Invite your child’s friends over for mealtimes. Seeing friends eating different foods with which they may be unsure about can give them reassurance.
  • Give time to explore food. We all eat at a different pace so it’s important to let a child explore. It can help give confidence.
  • Having variety, colour or different layouts (i.e. a face or car) can create a fun experience.
  • Try new foods together. When my boys & I try new foods, I always like to say with a happy face, “Try this, it is really yummy!”
  • Encourage them to try just a mouse bite size. This amount isn’t usually too daunting.
  • Try a new food beside a familiar food.
  • Try to have mealtimes before the child gets very hungry or tired.
  • Cooking together can have a wonderful influence (as seen at our workshops).
    The child is so proud of their achievement & happy that they usually want to try it even with foods they wouldn’t normally eat.

Hope these tips are helpful.

If you would like to discuss them or for more information about Children’s & Baby Weaning Cookery Workshops, e-mail me at lizzie@littlekitchenmagicians.com

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