This article discusses how to you can select the best new foods for picky eaters when you are trying to expand their diet and get them to eat more variety.
Your child is an extremely picky eater.
You’re ready to help them try new foods and eat more variety and you have decided to begin introducing new foods to your picky eater. This is amazing!
Whether simply serving new foods at mealtimes or also doing hands-on experiences like gardening, food play, or food exploring, you will be increasing your child’s exposure to new foods, which is the first step to helping them learn to eat something new.
At this point you might be wondering about the best new food for picky eaters.
Truthfully, there is no one answer.
Every child is different.
Instead of randomly selecting new foods for your extremely picky eater to try, be strategic.
There are many factors to consider when introducing new foods and parents end up taking different routes based on their lifestyle and their child’s needs.
I recommend reading through the suggestions below to select the best new foods for picky eaters, and then ultimately deciding what makes the most sense for you and your family.
How to Find the Best New Foods for Picky Eaters
Foods that Fill a Nutritional Gap
Health and nutrition needs to be a priority for some picky eaters who are not eating enough or are not eating enough of the right foods. New foods can help to fill nutritional gaps like micronutrient deficiencies. If your child is underweight, consider high-calorie foods. If your child has a known iron deficiency, it might make sense to focus on iron-rich foods. Or, if your child doesn’t eat a lot of protein, consider expanding this category.
Check with your child’s doctor if you’re concerned about your child’s nutrition.
Once a nutritional gap has been identified – either a true deficiency or an underrepresented area of their diet – the suggestions below can help narrow down specific foods to start with.
Foods That Your Child Used to Eat
Some of the best new foods for picky eaters are foods that they used to eat. Kids are more likely to eat foods that they used to eat than foods they are meeting for the first time. If you are eager for more variety, focusing on foods that your child ate and dropped within the past 12 months can give you a quick win.
Foods That Are Similar to Preferred Foods
Do your child’s preferred foods have anything in common? If your extremely picky eater tends to like a particular type of food – maybe a certain texture or flavor – look to introduce new foods that share these qualities. These will be easier for your child to learn to like than foods that don’t share any similarities with preferred foods.
Preferred Foods in a New Form
Trying a new shape of pasta or a different brand of yogurt might not add much nutritional variety to your child’s diet, but these additions can still be meaningful. First, they give you more variety and flexibility. Next, these simple variations can jumpstart your child’s interest in new foods and build confidence in their ability to try different things.
Foods that Will Make Your Life Easier
One of your goals might be to save time and reduce the stress that comes with feeding a super picky eater. If this sounds like you, the best new foods for picky eaters for you will be foods that make your life easier. Maybe it’s a food your child can order off of a menu or something you can pack in their lunchbox. Introducing foods that will have a big impact for you or your child will make the accomplishment of your child eating a new food that much more meaningful.
Foods that the Family Regularly Eats
Want to stop preparing multiple meals for your family? Think about your mealtime staples. This is your database to find the best new foods for picky eaters. Choose the food or dish that your child is most likely to eat.
When it comes to selecting the best new foods for picky eaters, it’s smart to be intentional. Prioritize filling any major nutritional gaps, and then consider what your child would be most likely to eat and what makes the most sense for your family.
Using the guidelines for selecting the best new foods for picky eaters above, select 3 foods you can introduce to your child. Grab your guide with 5 steps to help you child learn to comfortably and confidently try new foods to create a plan for successfully serving your new focus foods.