My toddler will try a new food most of the time.
Yes: It’s great that your toddler is adventurous to try new foods and whilst they will still have their favourites, it is important to maintain the variety by offering new foods all the time.
No: Just like their favourite pair of pyjamas or sleep toy, toddlers will have favourite foods. However, it is important to never give up when offering new foods. Often you will need to offer a new food 7-10 times before your toddler willingly accepts it. Toddlers go through stages of food refusal. It is common at this age to have a fear of new foods (Neophobia). Failure to try new foods may reduce variety in the diet, increasing the risk of depleted nutrients when whole groups of foods are refused.
- Keep a food diary for 1-2 weeks to assess whether their diet includes foods from all food groups
- Offer a variety of foods at each meal and be a good role model. Children tend to watch and imitate others. If you set a good example when you eat, they are likely to follow
- When trying to introduce a new food, start with a small serving size such as one pea
To reduce the anxiety and fear of some foods, try using the six steps below to help when trying something new:
- Include the food on the plate
- Have them hold the food in their hand
- Encourage them to kiss or lick the food
- Have them hold the food with their front teeth – no hands
- Encourage them to hold it on their back teeth
- Have them bite down on the food with their back teeth
You may find they will move through the steps in one sitting or it may take a number of meal times for them to happily eat the food.