Tips to be followed when trying new food
- Create a positive eating environment
- Offer new foods when you and your child are relaxed and your child isn’t too tired.
- Offer new foods without too many distractions around. Turn off the TV and other screens and take toys away from the table.
- Make it a family occasion – sit together to eat with your child whenever possible.
- Serve your toddler the same foods as the rest of the family. Your child will get the nutritional benefits of a wide range of foods, and accept new tastes and textures as ‘normal’.
- Offer new foods with foods that your child already knows and likes.
- Keep offering new foods. It can take several goes for children to accept and enjoy new foods.
- If your child refuses something, offer it again in a week or so. Your child might gobble it up and even ask for more – a toddler’s interest in food can fluctuate wildly.
- Let your child touch and play with food, and allow for some mess as she learns to eat.
- Let your child feed himself and give him some help if he needs it.
- If your child loses interest, or seems tired, cranky or unwell, take the food away.
Stop doing the following things
- Try not to bribe your child to eat (such as offering dessert as a reward).
- Threats or punishments aren’t good ideas, either.
- Even though you may be concerned, don’t show your child that you are upset by this refusal to eat.
- Don’t let your child play with toys during mealtimes. Reading books or watching television shouldn’t be allowed during mealtimes either.
- Don’t expect manners that are too difficult for your child, like eating in proper spoons and forks. If he or she eats with hands, allow them.
- If the meal is in the next hour, avoid offering your child a snack It can be a real challenge coping with the ups and downs of young children’s appetites and tastes.
Liking a food one day and refusing it the next is common toddler behaviour, though. It’s one of the ways that toddlers explore the world and show how independent they are.
In some cases, a child’s appetite might be affected by a health issue. If your child consistently refuses food or you’re concerned about your child’s growth or overall nutrition, see your health professional.