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Oregon Family Magazine

Ways to Encourage Your Toddler to Try New Foods

07/01/2021 ● By Angelica Hoover
There are few parts of parenting that are as notoriously challenging as encouraging your toddler to try new foods. It might be an uphill battle to introduce new snacks, flavors, and textures, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some simple ways to encourage your toddler to try new foods. 

Keep Portions Small

New and unfamiliar foods can overwhelm your toddler, especially when they arrive in large quantities. It’s a good idea to introduce new foods in small portions—think one carrot stick, one apple slice, or a single spoonful of yogurt or oats. 

Giving them a chance to taste the food just once will reduce their fear around it and reduce the amount of food you stand to waste, too.

Build On Their Favorite Foods

Does your toddler love pasta and peas? Try broccoli or squash the next time around. Do they have a soft spot for blueberry yogurt? Try adding in some fresh strawberries for their next snack. 

You can provide variety in your little one’s meals without straying too far from the familiar foods they love. Explain to them you have added a new ingredient for them to try so that they learn to expect and appreciate variation.

Give New Foods Glowing Reviews

Use descriptive language to talk to your child about the taste, texture, and flavor of a new food. Is this new food soft, firm, or crunchy? Hot or cold? What does its color remind them of?  This is a fun way to encourage them to enjoy new things without focusing simply on their likes and dislikes.

Don’t Force the Issue

Forcing your child to try a new food generally does more harm than good. You can decide what you put on your child’s plate, but it’s up to them to decide if they eat it, and how much they’re willing to try. 

Don’t Take Things Personally

If your toddler is hesitant to try the roasted veggies you made, you can rest assured that this probably isn’t a reflection of your cooking skills. 

It has a lot more to do with them feeling comfortable, in control, and in the right mood to try something new. 

Make Meals Tastier

Adding a dipping sauce or seasoning can make trying new foods fun for your child. At snacktime, try adding ranch or humus to your child’s veggie plate. 

Be Persistent and Patient

Some experts suggest you need to expose a toddler to a new food 8-15 times before they will eat it. So, it pays to be persistent. And keep in mind, many toddlers show resistance to trying new foods at some point. This is a completely normal phase of their development. In most cases, they will grow out of their picky ways. 

Angelica Hoover is a blog writer and editor for Mommy’s Bliss.