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How can parents encourage kids to try new foods?
Q: My 18-month-old daughter is a very picky eater. I celebrate with her when she tries new foods, but most of the time she chooses not to eat them. When she doesn’t get her way she has a glass-shattering scream. Any suggestions?
Shirley Edgewater
A: Shirley, don’t give up! Just change the rules. There are two ways to do this. First, put the new food on your plate but not hers. Make a “yummy” noise when you eat it and offer her some, but don’t push her to take it. Try a second time, and if she still has no interest, stop trying for that particular meal. While all this is going on, put your attention to something else other than her so she doesn’t catch on that you are actually trying to trick her into eating. Your other alternative is to put a very small amount of the new food on her plate and let her investigate it on her own.

Her screams are an attention-getting mechanism. If she thinks she can make you crazy, she will continue. But don’t worry. She has a lifetime to try new foods. Young toddlers are very resistant to change, and she’ll become more curious as she gets older.

Susan M. Leisner RD, IBCLC, RLC Nutritionist & Lactation Consultant