a picky eater at sensory solutions

Encouraging Children to Try New Foods

Trying new foods can be challenging for anyone. We all have foods that we like and do not like but some individuals find it easier to try new foods than others. Here are a few tips and tricks that speech therapists and occupational therapists recommend to the families they see for feeding therapy services

Slow and Steady: Exposing your child slowly to new foods can be helpful. This can be done by taking your child to the grocery store and having them pick a few items that look fun to them, look at recipes, or involve them in cooking.

Mark Mealtime: It is in our human nature to like predictability and schedule no matter our age. It provides us with a sense of comfort and control. For a child who may be described as a picky eater the idea of mealtime may be scary and make them feel uneasy. Try to have a schedule for when meals are served. Also, develop a way to signal the start and end of meal time such as starting mealtime with the child setting the table or by placing the food on the table once it is prepared. The end of meal time can be signaled by plates being brought to the sink. 

Language Matters: The words we use to describe and explain food is important. Try to use a neutral tone and language when talking about foods. Encourage your child to name at least one positive thing about the food after they try it. Talk to your child about the “superpowers” the foods can give you such as saying “the red foods make your heart strong and powerful” when serving them tomatoes and raspberries. 

Size Matters: Imagine being presented with a gallon sized bucket of your least favorite food and being told that you have to eat it. This is what a child can feel when they are served a food that they have never tried or a food they are hesitant to try. To encourage your child to try a new food, start with serving just a tablespoon size of the food onto their plate. If having the food on their own plate is uncomfortable for the child, have them serve the food onto another’s plate.

More from Sensory Solutions