Ideas to reintroduce foods to picky eaters. Kids won’t always love a new food the first time you offer it to them. Sometimes pairing foods can help. If your child is going through a picky eating phase, here are 5 ways to present foods in a new way.
Let’s play a game called “will eat, won’t eat”!
Like many of you, we both have young kids at home. Among other shared experiences, that means we’re very familiar with picky eating.
While phases of selective eating are frustrating, rest assured that they’re a normal part of a child’s development and generally not something to worry about. (That being said, if you’re ever concerned about your child’s eating habits, please speak with your pediatrician and/or dietitian for tailored advice.)
A lot of the time, picky eating has to do with your child craving more independence – and what better place to practice that than the dinner table, right? 😉
Still, we know that getting your child to finally try a new food they’ve been shunning is a big win for mama.
We’ve found that, sometimes, a change in presentation and even food pairings can make all the difference when it comes to encouraging food acceptance.
Ideas to reintroduce foods to picky eaters
Here are 5 ways that we’ve found success in reintroducing new foods to our kids.
Keep in mind that while these aren’t guaranteed to work for every kid, we hope they’ll give you some new ideas for presenting foods! Try them out with foods that may be getting the cold shoulder in your home.
1. Legume quesadillas
Even the most selective eaters tend seem to have an endless appetite for bread products.
Does your child like tortillas, but isn’t such a fan of beans or lentils?
Try: legume quesadillas.
This can work with vegetarian refried beans, or even mashed canned black beans or lentils. All you have to do is load up a tortilla with some of these, cut into triangles and maybe even served with a favorite dip, like salsa or guacamole.
Other ideas along the same lines?
Hummus sandwiches, smashed white bean wraps, or grilled cheese slathered with a layer of refried beans.
2. Dehydrated carrots
Sometimes it’s a texture or shape thing, and not necessarily the food itself, that’s driving the refusal from your child.
While we recommend continuing to offer the same foods multiple times to your child, it’s also okay to present them in new ways as part of the rotation.
There was a time when Caleb wouldn’t touch carrots in either raw or cooked form, so Whitney decided to try dehydrated carrots instead.
Dehydrating them gave them a new, crunchier form that he was interested in trying. Win!
Another example is when Vander wouldn’t eat cooked sweet potatoes… until Alex cut them into little star shapes, that is.
3. Chickpea balls
Does your babe like hand-held snacks (that’s a rhetoric question), but dislike chickpeas?
Luckily, chickpeas are one of the most versatile beans out there. Not only do we like to use them to make things like chickpea salad sandwiches, they’re also perfect for kid-sized snack balls.
4. Apple carrot slaw
If your child doesn’t like apples, but loves carrots (or the other way around!), try mixing the two together into a slaw or “salad”.
Again, offering a non-favorite food in a new texture can sometimes be helpful.
In this case, making a slaw out of grated carrots and apples proved to be intriguing enough for our kids to try it. You could also add a little vinegar if your tot has a more refined palate!
This could also work with something like grated pears and raisins, or grated carrots and sliced strawberries.
5. Apple nachos
If your babe isn’t a fan of apples, but is all about the peanut butter, try apple nachos!
Simply slice apples thinly, drizzle peanut butter (almond or sunflower butter work too!) over them, and top with optional dried cranberries and pepitas.
This one could also work with other fruit, like thinly sliced pears, bananas, peaches, or mango.
Can you reintroduce foods to picky eaters with success? Yes! While kids won’t always love a new food the first time you offer it to them, sometimes all it takes is trying a few ways to present foods in a new way. Remember that picky eating phases are temporary, but pairing foods and using creative shapes and textures sometimes can make all the difference.
Chime in: What are some ways you’ve tried reintroducing foods to your kids in a new way? Share your ideas in the comments!
If you found this post helpful, we think you should read these too: