Saturday, August 27, 2011

Creative Ways to Introduce Your Picky Eater to New Foods

A treat for today: a guest post from Nadia Jones. This also marks the first guest post ever appearing on my blog. It needn't be the last, though -- if you'd like to guest post, you can contact me.

My 6-year-old nephew Sam is infatuated with chicken nuggets; so much in fact that he won't Linktouch anything else, especially if what's place in front of him is an "icky" green. It's incredibly frustrating for my sister who had such good luck with her other two boys—they ate just about everything as kids, the green stuff too. If you are all-too-familiar with what it's like to raise a picky-eater but still want to try to expose your child to a world filled with more than crispy fried strips of chicken, there are some creative ways that you may just be able to do it. To learn some fun and easy methods of introducing your young child to new foods, continue reading below.

Let Your Child Help in the Kitchen.

If your child ever seems to be remotely curious in what you're doing in the kitchen (he or she will start hovering around and asking questions) recruit him or her as your sous chef. One of the easiest ways to get your child to try new foods is to get him or her involved in the cooking process. This can include anything from allowing your child to choose what's for dinner by giving him or her three to four different entrĂ©e options (that way he or she won't feel like you're forcing something down his or her throat), to letting them stir, measure, and/or cut small fruits and vegetables with plastic knifes, to assembling "fun" and easy homemade foods like pizza bagels, mini tacos and vegetable pitas. If your child still thinks that everything "sounds" gross, then change the name so it appears more attractive—salad can easily be called dinosaur food instead.

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Turn Food into an Art Project.

For years parents have told their children not to play with their food, but doing so may just actually get your child to try a new vegetable or deli meat. We're talking about participating in "sandwich art"—decorating your child's sandwich in a way that it actually masks the fact that it's healthy. There are two options really. The first is that you, the parent, takes the initiative and transforms a healthy snack into something fun to encourage your child to try it. You can use anything really—cookie cutters, stencils, or a simple knife to create silly faces and shapes into your child's sandwich like the one featured below.

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The second option is to allow your child to be the artist and use white sandwich bread as a blank canvas. Disney's Family Fun Magazine offers a great recipe for "sandwich art" where parents can help their children create a palate of edible decorative water paints using milk and food coloring.

Turn Eating into an Educational Experience.

Lastly, you can imitate your child's school teacher and introduce your child to a new food after reading a good book. I will admit that in the beginning, I too was a stubborn child. I wouldn't touch scrambled eggs. Not ever. The texture used to repulse me. But after my first grade teacher read Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham and served a batch of scrambled eggs to our class one morning (after adding some green food coloring to it of course), I couldn't get enough. The same idea can be applied to other food-related books read at home. There are a ton of books available, but some of the more popular ones are Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Today is Monday, The Vegetables We Eat, and The Mighty Asparagus; as a bonus, there are some books that will teach your child about the importance of eating right, like Gregory, the Terrible Eater and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

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Author Bio:
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @

Thanks, Nadia! I don't have a picky eater -- at least, not yet -- but I'll keep these tips in mind. Gentle readers, you may notice the book links are sponsored. If you follow them and actually buy something -- anything -- I will get a percentage. Just a heads-up.

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