Monday, April 20, 2009

Five Tips for Trying New Foods

I'm on vacation this week - woo! - so no cooking for me! In this break from my Month of Veggies, I thought I would share my top five tactics for getting Abby to try new foods. They don't all always work, but usually at least one of them will!

1. A "two no thank-you bites" rule. Since Abby was very small, we have at least paid lip-service to this rule - Abby must take two bites of anything before she can say "no thank you" to finishing it. It is only very recently, as in after her 3rd birthday, that this has really set in. When she was younger, we would remind her of the rule, but not much would happen. Now, when she turns up her nose, I can usually just say "Abs, two no thank-you bites please" and she'll force them down. So with consistency, this rule is finally paying off.

2. "My turn, Your turn" I'll take a piece of the food off of Abby's plate and say "Okay, Mommy's turn first (eat it) Yum! Your turn!" Abby is usually game to try a bite once she's seen me do it, and we keep taking turns for as long as she's willing.

3. "You feed me, I'll feed you" Like "My turn, your turn", but I let Abby feed me with her fork and I feed her with mine. This usually gets lots of giggles, and she loves to feed me, so I can get her to go along with being fed herself.

4. "High Five" Abby is a high-five addict. So I'll count her bites on my fingers, and when she reaches 5, we High Five. She loves this one.

5. Bribery. Yeah, not my favorite option. I generally won't use bribery unless the bribe is a healthy treat I was probably going to serve her anyway - something like "Have three more bites of those potatoes, and then you can have grapes"

What are your favorite tactics to get a new food into an unwilling mouth? I'm always looking for new ideas!


EJW said...

We have two similar tricks:

wWe either tell him that Grandpa LOVES whatever food we want him to eat, and that often gets him to at least try it, or we build up the bite sizes, using friends and family of increasing age/bite size.

A little baby friend might be a tiny bite, like "try a Nate bite, it's so tiny, like a baby would take," and then build up to Daddy bites.

CM said...

This is more of an observation than a tip, but -- if a food keeps showing up on our table and he sees us eating it, eventually he'll try it. The key is that we can't make a big deal out of it, especially when he tries it. We have to play it cool and ignore the first few bites of something new. Then, after he's eaten a fair amount, I'll say, "I'm so glad you liked eating the fish!"

Anonymous said...

Both kids (20 months & 4yo) will eat anything if we add "chase" to it! So, asparagus that was pushed aside becomes "asparagus chase"... each child runs circles around the table while mom and dad sit quietly and eat. whenever they finish a bite, they stop running for a moment while mom or dad feeds them a bite, and they are off again. it sounds chaotic, but it is much more peaceful than everyone sitting still while we try to convince the older kid to eat her food and the younger kid to stop climbing on the back of her seat!

Anonymous said...

And an addition to my above post: if we have, say, rice, beans, and spinach, and a kid is eating lots of rice but won't touch the spinach, we play a game where I draw a picture of each of the three items and put them in a bucket. Each kid reaches in and draws a piece of paper, and takes a bite of whatever is on that paper. Then they put it back in the bucket and we do it again... and again... They love it!

Sew Bee It said...

I've had the "I bet you can't.." game work. But not from me! It has to be either my dad or our good friend telling the kids, "I bet you can't eat one bite!" or something along those lines. And I have had "races" that seem to work, where we race to see who can eat all of something before someone else. Eh, whatever works, right?

BranFlakes said...

I LOVE your blog, so I left you an award.

Kara said...

These are some fantastic ideas! I especially love the "Baby Bites" up to "Daddy Bites" - Abby is really into size right now, and that she is bigger than Lizzy but smaller than Mommy, etc.