It’s the New Year. Most people I know are thinking about “new.” Take advantage of the momentum to shake things up. Your kids will end up eating better—even if you don’t introduce any new foods (yet).
I know it sounds impossible. But here’s the logic: Children crave routine, that you know.
But routine doesn’t mean that things always have to stay the same.
You can make “new” and “different” the routine.
When “new” = routine, kids are more open to new everything.
And that includes new foods.
Consider these two versions of routine: “Same Old, Same Old” vs Different
- Routine Version One: Serve toast for breakfast every morning.
- Routine Version Two: Use the Rotation Rule, i.e., don’t serve the same thing two days in a row.
In version one, kids come to expect toast. In version two, kids come to expect different. Different is the routine.
Children who are most resistant to new foods are often resistant to new experiences in general.
I once had a client whose son hated it when she wore new clothes. If that pretty much describes your child—albeit perhaps a more extreme version of your child—consider building a new routine into her day, as often as you can.
When new becomes old hat, children eat better. New is the routine.
12 Non-Food Ways to Expand What Your Children Will Eat
- Explore a new playground
- Take different routes to school
- Wear different outfits
- Switch up who sits where at the table
- Read books in the bath instead of in bed
- Take turns choosing who goes first at games
- Insist your children wear their coats backwards
- Follow the garbage truck on its route.
- Tape quarters to the bottom of shoes to create tap shoes
- Try on all the hats in the house
- Check out the hardware store
- Take a bus ride on a new route
Now, talk about it. Otherwise, “new” always falls under the radar.
- Do you hear the swings squeaking?
- Wow, look at those flowers. We never saw those before. Which ones smell the best?
- I love the way the stripes look with these pants. What do you think?
- The room looks smaller from over here. How does it look from over there?
- Let’s make splashy sound effects. How many other sounds can you make for the story in the bath that you can’t make from bed?
- Going last feels funny. How does going second feel?
- What can you see in there?
- What’s that smell?
- How loud can you tap? How soft?
- Which hat do you like the best? Why?
- Let’s find the light switches and compare them to the ones we have.
- Have you ever seen that house before?
~ Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits. ~
Source: Pliner, P. and K. Hobden. 1992. “Development of a Scale to Measure the Trait of Food Neophobia in Humans.” Appetite 19: 105-20.