Introducing New Foods to Picky Eaters
Nothing is more worrisome and disheartening for a parent than a child who will not eat, or one who will only eat one or two things.
Our son Brendan, now 15 was a shining example of a fussy eater. Part of his resistance was that being autistic, he did not like the tactile feel of most foods. I know that experts often advise, “when they are hungry enough, they will eat” but we could never be sure with him because his need to stick to his rigid attitudes was stronger than his appetite.
However, he, like most young children liked games, so we made trying new foods into a game and it worked like a charm.
We used a combination of things he liked and foods he refused.
Here’s an example of how to turn snack time into a fun time
To play you need:
- 1 picky eater
- 2 little pieces of a food that is liked [apple]
- 2 little pieces of a food child has refused to try before [broccoli]
- 1 “treat type” food [balance the good fun with fun.. make it an oatmeal cookie]
- 5 little squares [could be a cut up placemat]
- Make a line with 5 little placemat squares in front of the child.
- Put a food item on each square as shown with the treat furthest away
- Eat your way to the treat [no shortcuts allowed]
You can use all sorts of foods like cheese, and crackers, and melon etc and even add more selections as you go by adding more pieces of placemat and more food items. Kids really like to help set it all up
Remember this is a game with no good or bad outcomes. It’s just a game.
Don’t get overly excited if they actually eat the previously refused item or too upset if they just can’t do it.
Just say “Oh, I guess you don’t want to play this game with me right now” and put it all away for another time.
You can also make a line for yourself and play along and take turns with your child. Maybe there is something you don’t like to eat!
Now you may be wondering how it worked out with our son. Well. I’m happy to say that today he eats lots of veggies and believe or not really likes Brussels sprouts and even spinach!
— Ruthie Burd President and Founder, the Lunch Lady