Introducing new foods to your child is no small feat. Many children have picky eating tendencies and tend to dislike foods that are unfamiliar to them. However, you shouldn’t let this discourage you. In fact, introducing new foods to your child can be fun! It is important to take the pressure off your child and take your time.
Introducing New Foods
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, you can begin to introduce solid foods to your child around 6 months old. By the time your child is 7-8 months old, they can be introduced to a variety of food groups such as meat, fruits, vegetables, yogurts, cheese, and more. This exciting time in your child’s development can also come with some challenges. Wake Forest Pediatrics has put together some tips to introduce new foods into your child’s diet.
- Never Force
One of the most important things to remember when introducing new foods to your child is to start small and never force anything upon them. Forcing your child to try something new or eat something on their plate reinforces poor eating habits that can turn into problems later in life. Similarly, try never to bribe your child into eating something, as this, too, can lead to negative associations with eating. Instead, be encouraging and patient to combat mealtime shame.
- Introduce New Foods With Something Familiar
A great way to not overwhelm your child when introducing new foods is to pair it with something familiar. Adding in one of their favorite foods can make the experience less daunting. Small portions can also be good when trying something new. It is said that even the smallest portions of food act as an effective first step to getting your child to accept new foods.
- Be A Good Role Model
Children are like sponges. Although they are young, they are very observant. With that said, your child has likely picked up on your eating habits and how you act during mealtime. It is important you model healthy behaviors. Try eating the food first to demonstrate it is yummy and okay to eat before letting your child try it.
- Make The Experience Fun
Introducing new foods to your child doesn’t have to be a fun sucker. There are plenty of ways to present the food in different ways that can be exciting and even collaborative! Try cutting or arranging the foods into different shapes or letting your child choose how they want to plate their meal. By using a fun approach, your child is more likely to have an open mind when it comes to trying new foods.
- Try, And Try Again
Getting your child to try new foods can be challenging, but it is important not to get discouraged. It can take up to 10 tries before your child likes the food you’ve introduced! The CDC suggests waiting a couple of days before offering the food again. Each time your child is reintroduced to a food, don’t be afraid to let them explore it with all their senses. This may increase the likelihood they will accept the food sooner rather than later.
Introducing your child to new foods can be both exciting and difficult. However, the payoff is worth it! Children who explore their world through eating are more likely to try new things throughout life. Wake Forest Pediatrics is committed to providing quality care to your kids at all times on a wide array of subjects. Do you have more questions on how to introduce your child to new foods? Call our Wake Forest office at 919-556-4779 or our Knightdale office at 919-266-5059 to make an appointment.