As children grow up their tastebuds change; one minute they like something, the next they don’t. So, the best way to get them to try new foods is by giving them options and allowing them to pick and choose what they want try so that it becomes familiar to them. Also, remember to “practice what you preach” and try new foods with your children even if you don’t like it so that they can develop their own taste to it.
The first way to give your children options is by bringing them along when you buy groceries. As you walk down the aisles, have them pick out foods, fruit and vegetables that they like by their favorite colors, shapes, or sizes and give them fun facts about the items. If there is something that you really want your child to try but they are adamant about not wanting it because it looks weird, do not force them to get it. However, you can always say, "I'm still going to buy this, because I really enjoy eating it. Maybe someday you'll want to try it." Eventually, your child will feel more comfortable, pick something out of the ordinary and try that “weird” item you were trying to get them to pick out.
After your trip to the grocery store have your child help make dinner for the family. According to the BabyCenter, when you allow your child to help cook dinner it “gives [your child] a sense of control over [their] diet and they are more likely to eat something they’ve prepared themselves”. I agree with this statement because your child will feel so proud and excited of their accomplishment that they will want to try their creation.
When preparing dinner have an item your child already eats alongside a new item so that your child does not feel pressured to try the new food and associate the item with something the child likes. For example, when I was growing up my mom associated trying spinach and carrots with my favorite cartoons at the time, Popeye and Bugs Bunny. She would tell me how strong I would be if I ate my spinach and how I would have great vision if I ate my carrots. Somehow it worked! I still eat them and to this day I still remember the first time I tried them.
Finally, getting a child to try new foods can be overwhelming but according to Charity Curley Matthews, “[you have to] be patient, it’s been reported that kids will need to try new foods anywhere from 7 to 15 times before acquiring a taste for it”. This means that if at first you don’t succeed, try again!
Mathews, Charity Curley. "How to Get Kids to Try New Foods (Without Begging, Bribing or Losing Your Mind)." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 15 Aug. 2012. Web. 18 July 2014.
"How to Handle a Picky Eater." BabyCenter. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2014.