July 13, 2016 — By Wendy Sachs

Picky eating is normal for young children. Once they find their “go to” foods, trying something new can seem out of the question. While a consistent nutritious diet is paramount, establishing versatility in foods is important. Here a few tips to help encourage picky eaters to try new things:

Let children help. Grocery shopping and meal prep are the perfect time to introduce new foods. Allow children to explore the aisles of the grocery store and choose a new food item. Once you arrive home, have children help prepare the dish so they’re ready to try their creation during mealtime.

Bring an appetite to the table. Try spacing out meals so children have an appetite when they sit down to eat. For example, if you’re introducing a new dinner meal, make snack time a little earlier so children are more inclined to try more of the new dish because they are ready to eat.

Offer an incentive. For picky eating during childhood, often children need something to look forward to before trying something new. A good example is letting children know how much you would like them to try a new food before moving on to dessert.

As time goes on, children typically develop a sense of curiosity which leaves them inclined to try new foods. If you suspect that your charge is a severe picky eater, speak with your employer and maybe recommend that they contact their pediatrician for more tools and recommendations.