Some children eat everything put in front of them, while others need more coaxing. These tips from the British Nutrition Foundation show how to introduce a varied diet. This is key to forming good eating habits later in life.
If your child refuses a new food, try offering it to them another day. Repeated exposure takes away the fear factor, and helps them get comfortable enough to handle or taste it another time.
Avoid pressuring or bribing your child into eating a certain food, as this can make them want to avoid it in future. Instead, offer new foods in a relaxed way, and give lots of praise when your child is brave enough to try them.
It’s easy to forget that a child’s stomach is very small: it’s only the size of their fist. Remember, they don’t need huge portions to feel full.
Too many options can feel overwhelming, so limit choices to just two things. “Would you like a big spoon of beans or a little spoon of beans?” is easier to answer than “What do you want to eat?”
Give food funny names, cut sandwiches into unusual shapes, or arrange portions into smiley faces or a favourite animal. Let your child get involved with this: it gives them a sense of control, and they’ll enjoy it, too.
Encouraging your family to eat well is easier if you’ve already stocked up on healthy foods. It’s a good idea to cover the four main food groups (carbohydrates, protein, dairy and fruit and vegetables) while avoiding foods high in fat, salt and sugars.
Want more support? For advice on your specific issue, speak to one of our parenting coaches.
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