Did you ever notice how some children are better at trying new foods, and have a wider food repertoire as compared to other children their age? Did you ever wonder why that is? I’ll let you in on a little secret, which really is no secret at all.
You decide what, they decide when and how much.
Only you, as the parent, can decide what food is given to your children. We do live in a democracy yet when it comes to promoting a variety of healthy foods, it is important to exercise your role as the leader in paving the way. (Trust me, there will be many years ahead for your children to make these decisions on their own!) Starting as young as 6 months, you are in the drivers seat.
Once the pattern is established that you are cruise director of the dinner table (or breakfast table, or lunch table), then your child can decide IF they will eat the food and HOW MUCH. I urge you to encourage to “try” foods, by definition 14 times, to permit your child enough exposure to a new food. This also sends the message to your child that you are NOT giving up on asparagus.
Fights occur only when parents become short order cooks and have set a standard of “if you don’t like it, mommy will make you something you like.” Break this cycle (immediately if not sooner) and promote food expansion and fewer fights at the table.
News flash – if you child really does not love their meal, they will not go hungry. There’s likely another meal only a few hours away…
– Encourage a variety of foods daily
– Serve new food first so that they are hungry
– Do not force eating, encourage it
– Do not assign guilt for not eating a food, a simple “I guess you didn’t have room for the cauliflower tonight, perhaps another night!”
– Offer food again and soon
– Always accompany new food with a meal you know your child likes
– Eat the same meal with your child, so they see you eating it too
– NEVER give up and announce, “my child doesn’t eat tomatoes” as this seals the deal!