CHS Blog

Introducing New Foods to Picky Eaters

Introducing New Foods to Picky Eaters
Posted on October 18, 2019 by CHS

Does the idea of introducing new foods to your child seem like a daunting task? You are not alone. This is a common occurrence that many parents experience. This blog will provide some ideas that may help you when introducing new foods to your picky eater.

Our food preferences stem from the foods we eat in infancy and often follow us as we grow into adulthood. We tend to prefer the foods that we are familiar with because we know what to expect. Children may be leery of new foods that they haven’t been exposed to, and therefore resist trying them. Try not to show your frustration with your child’s refusal to try new foods. Instead, take a breath and practice patience.

Try Offering Smaller Portions
Rather than offering your child a full serving of an unfamiliar food, offer her a little at a time. Offering a smaller portion will allow your child to try the new food, learn what it tastes like, and become accustomed to it. Over time, as you continue offering the food, your child will become accustomed to the flavor, and eventually request the item by name! This process may take up to 15 attempts per new food, so be patient.

Rotate Various Foods
Repetitive meals can become dull and uninteresting, even for adults. Instead of serving the same dish every day, try new recipes or different ways of cooking the same food item. A simple switch can make all the difference. If your child tried spinach yesterday, try offering broccoli today and then spinach again tomorrow. Rotating different foods in your child’s diet may help him expand his taste buds and become comfortable trying new foods as he grows into adulthood.

Offer without Pressuring
Remember not to pressure your child when trying new foods.. Your child is at the age where she wants to have a sense of control. Offer her the food and let her decide how much to try. Over time, your child will grow accustomed to the new food and ask for more when she is ready; this is called division of responsibility in feeding (sDOR). According to the Ellyn Satter Institute, sDOR “encourages you to take leadership with the what, when, and where of feeding and lets your child determine how much and whether to eat of what you provide.” You can learn more about sDOR by clicking here.

Flavor it Up
Provide your child with several options when it comes to flavor. Offer him different sauces, herbs, and spices in order to help him determine what he likes. Once you identify your child’s preferences, add a little of the sauce, herbs, or spices to the new food that you would like for your child to try. The addition of new flavors will help your child become familiar with what he is eating and become more comfortable with trying new foods.

Prepare with Your Child
When shopping for groceries, bring your child along, and encourage her to pick out foods she is interested in. If there are certain fruits or vegetables that she is curious about, let her hold and smell the fruits or vegetables while you explain the new foods to her. Once you’re home, prepare the food together. You can have your child wash the vegetables, place them in a bowl, or stir in some herbs and spices.  Getting your child involved in meal preparation will not only encourage her to try new foods, but also teach her lifelong skills while she makes lasting family memories.

To learn more ways to introduce new foods to picky eaters, see the links below.

Sign up for CHS updates
Areas of Interest


Children’s Home Society of California’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service have changed. Click here to learn more.