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6 Tips to Get Your Toddler to Try New Foods

If you are in an endless battle with a toddler over what is being served for dinner, fear not. You are not alone. It is a challenge being faced by parents everywhere. (I know I've been there!) We try to be good parents by giving them nutritional foods packed with essential vitamins but are met with the screeching demands for chicken nuggets. 😑

Try New Foods | Positive Parenting Tips

I have searched far and wide and tried some pretty unethical attempts. (Which I will share in a future blog post) But through all of my research, these 6 tips kept making their way to the top of the "must try" list.


I will say, I missed the ball on most of these with my first kids, but am implementing them with my two littles.


Get Your Child to Try New Foods - 6 Quick Tips


#1 Start early...before they realize what is happening.


I cannot stress this enough: if you start with the peas...they will like the peas. I know it is absolutely shocking, but I guess if it is the first thing you get to try (other than formula or milk) it must taste pretty good.


I was that mom who looked at the baby food in disgust and immediately thought to myself.. "well, this is gross. There is no way he will eat this." I am ashamed to admit, I let my own thoughts steer me from starting a variety of foods early enough. Don't be me!


PS - Props to all those mamas who make their own food. Ya'll impress me. One day I will be that Pinterest mama, but making baby mush is not my forte.


#2 Monkey see, monkey do


It's crazy to think that the same child whose name you scream 547 times a day is the same one who mimics everything you do. Yet, it's true.


I used to be that "make it easy" mom. I would come home from work and immediately start doing all the mom things. Takeout became my best friend. I also had little to no self control, so my takeout wasn't one to showcase. I felt myself slipping away a bit until one day, I decided to regain my control.


I started implementing better choices in my own diet and immediately, my littles began to copy me. Instead of reaching for a sweet treat, I reached for strawberries. Sure enough, my littles would swarm and devour them all! If Mama has it, they want it too.


#3 Make it fun


I feel like I became an actual clown when it came time to get my children to eat. I got really creative here (I promise there is a full post coming dedicated to this).


But some simple ideas:


⭐️ Arrange fruits and vegetables into shapes

⭐️ Create colorful food arrangements.

⭐️ Make funny faces with ingredients

⭐️ Serve meals on colorful plates with fun utensils.


Engaging their imagination can encourage them to try new foods and make the experience more exciting and less intimidating.


#4 Turn your toddler into your sous chef


What toddler doesn't like helping? Stirring, spreading, even chopping (with safety knives, of course!) Pull up that step stool and let the meal preparations begin. All of these are great activities for both parties.


They get to help and be a part of an activity with you while you know where your toddler is and can ensure they are not destroying the house while you are distracted making a meal they inevitably wouldn't have eaten...until now.


#5 Texture is a thing


I didn't think this could be a thing, boy was I wrong. Through talking to friends I have come to realize, toddlers can be sensitive to textures, which can be a barrier to trying new foods.


Pay attention to the texture of the foods your child enjoys and gradually introduce new textures that are similar. For example, if your child likes mashed potatoes, try introducing mashed sweet potatoes or cauliflower. Slowly expand their comfort zone to include a wider range of textures.


#6 Celebrate the journey and keep your cool


I am currently taking a course and the professor gives gold stars. My 33-year-old self STILL gets overly excited over that star. Imagine what your small praise could do for a toddler going out of their comfort zone?


Acknowledge and celebrate small victories along the way. When your babes try a new food or take an extra bite of something they were previously hesitant about, celebrate it. Positive reinforcement and encouragement can go a long way in building their confidence and willingness to try new foods.


Bonus tip!

I made a FREE printable menu to help toddlers communicate what foods they like (or don't!)

toddler taste test printable menu


 

There you have it! 6 tips to try and eliminate that mealtime battle. No matter what at the end of the day, if they are consuming food...you, my friend, are a fantastic mother! Don't worry, I will be right there in the trenches beside you attempting these tips with my own littles - my email is always open to vent too.


And let's never forget, when all else fails...that's why we have wine. 🍷


What have you tried with your toddler? Pop a comment below!

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