Some children are born picky and are naturally hesitant to try anything out of their comfort zone. Other children are born with a natural curiosity and want to try tons of different things of their own accord. Regardless of your child’s disposition, you can do your children a great service by making different foods and flavors available. This can save you trouble down the road by helping your child to be more open to different things and possibly healthier.
Offering versus Pushing
Many parents try to avoid the picky eater dilemma by forcing their children to eat different foods, using threats or bribes to cajole their children into eating asparagus, spinach, and other foods. This approach is often unsuccessful and may even backfire as children seek to control their diets whenever they are outside of parents’ range.
Forcing children to try things will generally not help children to develop a healthy relationship with food and may foster unhealthy ideas, such as seeing clearing the plate when the food is undesirable as “being good.” Instead of forcing, it can be helpful to make one or two familiar foods along with one or two unfamiliar foods. Giving children the option to try something may make it seem more appealing.
Expand Your Own Horizons
Why let kids have all the fun trying new things? There are millions of different food preparations that can be attempted from tons of different cultures. Trying new things alongside your child will make it into a fun game as you both take the plunge with uncertainty about how you will feel about a food. If you both like or dislike the food, it may be a bonding experience. Try not to be judgmental if your child doesn’t like the food, as everyone has different tastes. Have fun introducing the whole family to new flavors.