I ask you the same question.. Aren’t you ? I personally cringe at the sight and smell of seafood. But I have tried it. (ended up with an allergic reaction – Thank God but I can proudly say I did try)
I am not good at experimenting with new cuisines but I am not fussy either. The reason – We had to try everything that was cooked by my mother. You can’t say NO. You need to try but you are allowed to have your favourites. They respected my food choices and vice versa.
It’s perfectly normal for kids to object to the shape, color, or texture of a food – or to suddenly decide that they hate everything, even foods they loved yesterday.
How to introduce new food items?
1. Offer small portions so the child is secured they don’t have to eat a lot of something they see the first time.
2. Ask them to touch it, lick it before eating it. Give them the security that it’s more important for them to try before saying no. You respect the fact that they are brave to try a new food item.
3. You may have to serve a new food many times before your child is ready to eat it. So be patient
4. Do not follow the starve method. Your child will simply learn to starve themselves till they get their favourite. This increases stubbornness and wrong behaviour. You encourage them to feel its ok if I cry and throw a tantrum, mummy will eventually give in. Don’t do that.
5. Make it Fun by combining a new food item with a tried and tested one. For example, broccoli with favourite Dip or ketchup (weird I know but just an example)
6. Use the power of choice. So, give your child two choices of new items after a few trials with them. And if they eat it, a reward of their favourite food item as the next meal. This way they don’t choose favorite vs non-favorite but lesser of the two evils according to them.
7. Do not feed your child anything that you yourself won’t eat. If your spouse eats it, ask your child to follow by daddy’s example. Mummy doesn’t like it very much but mummy has tried it. This way the child does not feel isolated and cheated to try something that mommy or daddy themselves don’t eat.
8. Involve your child in cooking, buying veggies and the whole process. This way the child watches, observes and learns. When you taste food while cooking, your child may ask for a taster too. Children learn best through imitation.
In the end, everyone has a different palate. What you like, may not suit the taste buds of your child.
Try and meet your child half way but keeping in mind that taste should never overpower Nutrition.
Also read: Toddler Tantrum #4: I Don't Want Food!