Trying new foods sometimes can be easy for you and sometimes can be hard for you. If it is hard for you, it may be because of the way the food looks, smells, or tastes. A lot of times parents want their kids to eat new foods such as vegetables, different kinds of meat, or foods that are mixed together. Here are some strategies to use if trying new foods is tricky for you:
- Just go for it! Sometimes being brave and telling yourself that “I can do it” helps you to become a more adventurous eater. It could be the fear of something new that makes it hard. Using self-talk like, “I may like it if I just give it a try” could be something that helps you. For example, when I first tried green beans, I actually liked them, but I had to just go for it and try it!
- Be relaxed. Try new foods when you don’t feel rushed. If you are an anxious eater, working on trying new foods at the end of a busy day or when you feel rushed could add to the stress of the situation.
- Keep the familiar foods. When trying new foods, have something familiar on your plate as well. Presenting new foods and learning to tolerate them next to familiar foods can be a great first step. Even if you don’t eat the new food as a part of your meal, getting familiar with the sight and smell of it is important.
- Learn that all food is good food! Try not to treat healthy or new foods like the “chore” to be completed at mealtimes only to be able to “earn” dessert. Consider other rewards for trying new foods such as a small prize or extra time with a favorite video game or TV show.
Trying new foods can be challenging, but fun! It is good to know you are eating healthy foods that are good for your body. Sometimes it takes a bit of practice, but if you stick with it, you can be an adventurous eater too!
Written by Lindsey Justice and Bentley (age 9) who has been working hard to become an adventurous eater! Lindsey Justice has been an occupational therapist for nearly 7 years, and currently works at North Country Hospital, predominantly working with children at the preschool and elementary levels.