It’s common for kids to go through phases where they refuse to try new foods. Don’t be disheartened, follow these tips to help you work towards stress-free mealtimes.
Get your kids in the kitchen
Kids learn about food by being involved in its preparation and cooking. They’re more likely to try new foods, even the ones they don’t like, if they’re involved in the preparation.
Introduce your kids to cooking in a relaxed, fun environment. Yes, it’ll get messy, but you’ll be equipping your kids with a love for food and cooking from a young age.
You can introduce kids to cooking from as early as 18 months old. Begin with basic tasks and progress onto more complicated jobs as their skills develop. Give them foods to taste and ask for their input on how to make improvements.
Try these quick, easy, affordable and kid-approved meal ideas.
- Tuna cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese – a healthy twist on a family favourite.
- Corn fritters – these fritters freeze well and are great for lunchboxes.
- Custard and fruit – a good recipe to have up your sleeve. You can use frozen or canned fruit too.
PAK'nSAVE and the Heart Foundation
We’re proud to join forces with the Heart Foundation to bring you simple, healthy, delicious recipes that won’t break the bank.
Healthy food doesn’t have to use expensive ingredients or be complicated to make. Our hacks are here to help you get yummy meals, packed with veges on your plate, whatever your situation – whether you’ve got a tribe to feed, or simply don’t have time to cook.
It’s normal for toddlers and young children to go through a stage of refusing food. It’s part of growing up and gaining independence. Don’t assume refusal means they dislike the food. Children need time to get used to the taste, texture and smell of new foods.
- Make food fun and easy to eat – finger foods are good. Use shapes and colours and arrange foods attractively.
- Avoid offering dessert or other treat foods as a reward. This sends mixed messages that healthy foods are less interesting.
- Offer one new food at a time and allow them to become familiar with that food before moving on to something new.
- Sometimes a child needs up to 15 positive exposures to a new food before they accept it.
- Where possible, let toddlers select their own food. Children are more likely to eat foods that they‘ve chosen.
- Serve small portions – large portions can put children off. They can always ask for more.
- Be a good role model – fill your plate with veges and show that you enjoy them.
- Praise good behaviour and give attention when they eat well. Don’t make a fuss when they don't eat their veges. Offer them again tomorrow.