Introducing New Foods to Children With Feeding Deficits

. 4/30/09

Having previously considered the differences between a picky eater and a problem feeder, here are some simple tips for introducing your child to new foods.

Involve your child in preparing the menu for the week. Determine together which recipes your child might be interested in cooking. You can discuss whether the recipe needs to be changed, or whether something could be added. Have your child help you decide what ingredients need to be put on the grocery list. If it is not too overwhelming for your child, s/he can accompany you to the store and help you purchase the ingredients you need. Some children may also be interested in having a grocery store scavenger hunt to find the items on the list. Make this experience fun!

Include your child when preparing the meal. This allows for some exploration of food without expecting the child to eat it. Food preparation can be less stimulating and anxiety provoking than sitting down for a meal. Make your food preparation fun by allowing for exploration through “play” with the foods. It is important to touch the food. Allow your child to touch, squish, smear, or knead the food. Try experimenting by adding new and different ingredients. This is also a great time to talk about all of the different smells. Don’t force your child to smell something, but you can talk about how good the food smells to you or what it reminds you of. Remember that just because your child helped prepare the meal, s/he may still not eat it. At this stage you are just providing exposure and interaction with food, not expecting the child to eat it. If your child chooses to try the new food, that is great; but don’t force him/her to try it.


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