You might have heard of the French paradox – no, not the one about French people’s heart health and their love of cheese. There’s another one out there that might surprise you. In France, the land of creme brulee, tartes, madeleines, and macarons, modern legend says that most children happily eat their vegetables at every meal.
Are you having a hard time imagining Baby choosing peas over pastries? You’re definitely not alone! Lots of parents struggle with convincing their toddlers to eat all the food on their plates.
It’s understandable if you get frustrated when Baby refuses food. But unfortunately, forcing Baby to finish every bite won’t give them the opportunity to enjoy vegetables and fruits on their own, which is the ultimate goal. Here are some ways to try and turn Baby into your family’s official foodie.
Give Baby a little more control
You don’t need to let Baby fill the grocery cart with whatever they can grab from the shelves. However, asking Baby to pick out the fruits and vegetables they'll be served later might increase the chances that they won’t see the food on their dinner plate as a USO (unidentified steaming object).
Differentiate between pickiness and preferences
Don’t force Baby to clean their plate
Mix things up
Aim for multiple exposures
Toddlers require lots of tastings before they can decide if they like a food. The first four or five times, Baby might reject cauliflower right away. But that doesn’t mean they are necessarily tasting it. Don’t give up on their palate the first several times you serve a vegetable – you could be surprised farther down the road.
- “Fussy eaters.” NHS choices. National Health Service, July 5 2015. Web.
- “Picky eaters.” UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. University of California San Francisco, 2002-2015. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Children’s nutrition: 10 tips for picky eaters.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, September 6 2014. Web.