FIVE TODDLER STEPS FOR TRYING NEW FOOD
It is normal that you will see changes in the way your child interacts with food from the age of about 18 months. Usually, this is a phase that will eventually evolve. However, this is also a time that harmful and unhealthy habits may develop. It is therefore important that you encourage your toddler’s healthy relationship with food and that means a diverse range of foods, textures and flavours. Here are some helpful strategies to assist you in introducing new foods to your toddler's repertoire:
1 Start with very small amounts on the plate to create realistic goals.
2 Limit to 3 different types of veg, preferably with at least one that you know they will eat.
3 Enjoy the meal with them.
4 Give your toddler time, at least 20 minutes. Perhaps try the mindful eating exercise below.
5 Give your toddler praise for whatever they have eaten and explain to them how it will make them healthy and strong. (Note that for some of the fussiest eaters even just a lick of a new food can be a big step forward.)
MINDFUL EATING EXERCISE
Place a few different kinds of foods in front of your toddler and ask them the following questions-
what colours and shapes do you see?
does your food make a sound?
is it smooth, bumpy or rough?
what does your food smell like?
have them put the food on their tongue but don’t let them chew it just yet.
How does it feel in your mouth? Do you taste anything yet? Does the flavour change, when you chew? How many different flavours are there?
COULD THERE BE MORE TO IT?
It could be that a nutritional deficiency is the reason that your little one does not want to eat. Low levels of zinc, B12 and/or iron can be associated with a decreased appetite. If you have tried the strategies above and are concerned, talk to your health care practitioner.