Listen, I see this mistake all the time and if you want your child to be an adventurous eater, it’s just self sabotage.
Stop telling your kids they won’t like a food! Stop saying in front of them that they’re a picky eater!
“You probably won’t like this”
“She won’t eat that”
“Kids don’t like this”
“Oh, this? It has [fill in the blank food], you don’t like [fill in the blank food]”
(This post is not about telling your child that they won’t like your favorite candy so you don’t have to share – that is a different issue altogether)
Why? Your kids will believe you!
You are totally allowed to think that your child probably won’t eat or like a food that is served and most of the time you will probably be right because you know your kid.
However, when you tell them they won’t like it, you’re saying “It’s not worth trying something you think you won’t like”. I mean, you might mean that, but most of the parents I work with do NOT want their kids to believe this. They want them to believe the exact opposite! (Which is “It’s good to try new foods and you shouldn’t say you don’t like it before you’ve tried it“)
It’s also totally possible to go too hard the other way and turn kids off trying a new food because you’re pushing it so much, but that’s not what this post is about.
So even if you think your child won’t eat something, just be cool and they might surprise you!
How to be cool, when you don’t feel cool?
- Serve them a tiny portion without saying anything
- You eat it, enjoy it and don’t make a big deal out of it
- If they ask for some, give them some
- If you feel like you have to talk about it, say something objective: “It’s crunchy” “Tastes like lemon” “It’s spicy”
- It’s fine to express that you like a food! Just be genuine. Don’t exaggerate to get them to want some.
- Ask them what they think (if they’ve already tried it) in a way that encourages them to describe it neutrally. “What flavor is it?” “Does it remind you of anything?”
What should you say to other people about your child’s eating? Feeding Littles shared this great post with some examples a while back:
If you’d rather watch or listen than read:
This post is intended to be informational only and is not medical or nutritional advice. If you have questions about your unique needs, ask about a custom meal plan or speak with a registered dietitian-nutritionist near you.