Unlocking Success: Introducing Healthier Options to Picky Eaters with Ease

It can take time for children to expand their culinary preferences, and sometimes they will stick to what they like and refuse to branch out…I don’t know about you but I remember being that way with some foods when I was growing up!

We’ve got a few ideas for you to help encourage them to try new foods. They’re simple, easy and can be incorporated into your day to day without making a big deal!

Role Modelling…


Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in shaping a child's eating habits. Children often mimic the behaviour of adults, so incorporating healthier food choices into your own diet can positively influence your picky eater.


Set a good example by making nutritious food choices yourself. When your child sees you enjoying a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, they may become more open to trying these options.


It may seem silly but describe the flavours and benefits of the foods you eat to make it an engaging and educational experience. Be enthusiastic about trying new foods in front of your little one. Share stories about how certain foods contribute to your well-being and make sure that you avoid negative comments about certain foods, as this may influence your child's perception.


Messy Play…


Messy play is exactly what it says, messy! But it is an effective and fun way to introduce new foods to picky eaters, especially younger children. Engaging their senses through touch and exploration can make the introduction of unfamiliar textures less intimidating.


When you give them this sort of freedom, you’re creating a positive association with food by incorporating it into playtime. For example, let your child play with cooked pasta, slice soft fruits, or explore different textures with their hands. This tactile experience can reduce the anxiety associated with trying new foods.


Our recommendation on approaching this, would be to designate a specific playtime for food exploration to keep it separate from mealtime. Encourage sensory activities with a variety of healthy foods and gradually introduce new textures to increase familiarity.


Don’t introduce new foods at dinner time…


Timing is everything! We've cracked the code on introducing new foods without the dinner table battle. Say goodbye to dinner stress and hello to stress-free snacking!


You really don’t need to wait for dinner. In fact, it’s much better introduce new goodies during laid-back moments. Snack time, picnics, or a mid-morning fruit fiesta – pick your moment.


Less pressure means more chances of your little ones embracing those healthier choices.


Keep it cruisy by introducing new foods in chilled-out settings. Keep snack portions small to minimise any feelings of being overwhelmed and when you have success you can gradually slide those successful introductions into regular meals!


Get Kids in the Kitchen!


This one is probably our favourite tip!

 it's time to get cooking! Involve your little dreamers in the kitchen action – it's a game-changer. When kids take the reins, they're more likely to give new foods a fair go. Let them roll up their sleeves and join the kitchen party. Washing veggies, mixing it up, or even choosing the recipe – it's their show. The hands-on experience sparks curiosity and a positive vibe towards food. Watch those mini chefs in action!


To kick things off we recommend opting for easy recipes with tasks that match their age. Use this as an opportunity to share the nutritional info about the ingredients – knowledge is power! And last but certainly not least, make sure to shower them with praise for their kitchen escapades!


This blog was written with direction from Dietitian, Sarah Why from The Good Food Clinic

Back to blog