How to get your child to try different food?
Introducing solid food… let the struggle begin!
To kick off this blog, I thought we should start with something we can all relate to: FOOD!! As a family, we LOVE food and enjoy trying new cuisines and tastes wherever we go, so I took it for granted that our baby will be the same from the get-go! Besides, I believe getting kids to have an open-mind to food is a good start to teach them to have an open-mind towards other things later in life.
I still remember when our first daughter was about to turn 6 months, how excited I was to introduce the wonderful world of solid food to her! I did all the research I could think of: where is the best place to feed her for the first time: the baby bouncer so she feels more relaxed, or the baby booster where she can sit up properly? Which is the best feeding spoon on the market, with silicon or not? I read up on all the baby puree recipes and got all kitchen utensils ready for the big day. The menu was vegetable broth made with love and rice cereal! Finally, we were ready for her adventure to begin!! Imagine my disappointment when I saw the expression on her face change from a smile to a frown and then a cry after spitting out her first bite of the yucky stuff I made! NO luck to convince her to take a second bite, no matter how much I tried. After half an hour of futile attempts, I literally had tears in my eyes and being the perceptive little girl that she has always been, she got upset and cried too! So, there we were, mother and daughter crying together in front of a bowl of uneaten rice cereal in broth!
One small step for a baby, a big step for a food enthusiastic adult!
Fast forward to 14 years and 2 daughters later, we now enjoy trying new foods as a family wherever we go and our kids grew up to be super open-minded when it comes to food. Of course they still have their preferences, but they are willing to try it all first before they make up their minds whether they like it or not. They have always been super easy to travel with and we never had to worry if the restaurants would have plain pasta and tomato sauce or not. They eat what adults eat and that’s the end of it (of course an occasional bribery of dessert always worked)!
But how exactly did we succeed in raising adventurous eaters? I used a lot of similar tactics that Celia Barbour described in her blog post (read till the end because I find her last sibling tactic most effective!) If you need more structured game plan, I think Katie Morford, MS, RD also summed it up really nicely in this article on how she did it. Trust me, this effort you are making now can benefit your kids and the family in the long run!