Children need to be exposed to new foods 10-15 times before they will stop fearing it and start eating it. Decrease a child's food fears by creating a supportive and enjoyable eating environment. Having and enjoyable experiences with food will highly influence a child's choice to eat the food - or not.
1.Provide fun learning experiences with food by baking, cooking, making smooothies, and washing and cutting up fruit or vegetables together. Children are able to help set the table and put own dishes in the sink or dishwasher.
2.Sit down to eat with the child to model good habits. Show children you value what the food has to offer by modeling an openness to trying new foods, talk about how good it tastes ( describe colors, tastes, and textures such as crunchy,and stringy). Use dips and sauces to enhance flavour. Allow children to help themselves to a platter of food. Teach table manners in a fun way.
3. Restrict foods like cookies, potato chips, hotdogs, macaroni and cheese.
4. Ask families to bring a food item to taste - maybe from another culture.
Avoid a power struggle! Never pressure a child to eat. Pushing a spoon away, turning the head, spitting food out, holding food in cheeks is a clear communication to stop. This will cause total refusal to eat.
Early childhood (2 - 5 years) is the time to introduce new foods because the variety of foods they will accept is greatest during this time period than later in childhood.