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I don't like it

Posted by admin Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Are you cooking the same old things? Are you avoiding that new recipe as you don’t want your hard work to be wasted when your little one rejects it? The thought of having to cook an alternative or have a hungry little one isn’t appealing so instead the usual Spaghetti Bolognese or Sausages and Chips are pulled out of the freezer.
 
It doesn’t have to be like that. Try these small steps and your new dish won’t be wasted.
 
Range Of Foods
Put a range of foods on the plate so your little one can make a choice. Include foods you know your little one will eat. It may mean having an unusual combination, but the presence of familiar foods alongside the unfamiliar ones acts as a safety net and doesn’t make a whole plate of new food quite so scary.
 
Give (some) Control
Give your little one some control over their dinner. Before the meal, announce to your little one what you’re having for dinner and ask which of two side dishes they would like to have with it (make sure they’re ones they will eat and ones you're willing to cook). Once the decision is made, repeat back the meal choice that has been decided. The conversation might go something like this:
 
MUM: We are having Chicken Cacciatore tonight. Would you like rice or mash potatoes with it?
LITTLE ONE: Rice please.
MUM: Great – so we’re having chicken cacciatore with rice for dinner. Is that right?
LITTLE ONE: Yes
MUM: Lovely – that sounds yummy.


      Eat together 

Eat the meal together. Seeing other people eat a new food not only encourages eating through copying but also confirms that the food is safe to eat. Historically, babies were crawling around caves munching food from bushes, and eating the wrong berry could prove fatal. Instinctively children look to a parent to demonstrate what is safe to eat. If you eat the new food, this confirms the food is safe and they are more likely to eat it.
 
Avoid "Do you like it"?
When you sit down for dinner, avoid asking “Do you like it?”. This closed question will trigger either a Yes/No response which is often decided not on the food but by other psychological factors. Have you ever said “no” to something just to be difficult because you didn’t get your own way earlier? Keep food separate.
 
Under the age of 5 children don’t know what they “like” so asking “Do you like it?” is a little out of their league in terms of cerebral comprehension. A child saying “I don’t like it” often means  “I haven’t tried it enough times yet” or “It’s unfamiliar to me” so save this question for toys at this age.
 
Try "Tell me what it tastes like"
Ideally, everyone will tuck-in and enjoy this new food but the reality often isn’t like that. Don’t resort to the “Just try one bite” as you are opening up to an immediate response of “Yuck” or “Bleugh” or “I don’t like it” as a knee-jerk reaction.  This can quickly become a habitual conversation between you and your little one for each new food. Instead, ask your little one to tell you what they think. Examples might be:
 
Is it cold like the ice cream you had at your birthday party?
Is it runny like the yogurt you had for breakfast?
Does it crunch like the cucumber sticks you had at snack time?
 
Enjoy your meal together as a family and remember, even if after all this your little one isn’t interested in your delicious food, research has shown it takes exposure of a new food 15-18 times before a little one may “like” it so don’t throw the recipe away, just try again in a few days.

 
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