I love watching my son J eat!
This may seem like a very odd thing to say however, those of you that have or had little ones with acid reflux may understand what I mean by this comment! J is now 3 and a half years old and he very recently he has become more willing to try foods he would normally refuse (having now officially verbalised this, I am hoping that he will continue to do so!).
I really do not know when and how this began, I offered J the usual food we offer him which involves vegetables, usually chicken, turkey or fish & some form of carbohydrate such as potato or pasta and for about the what seemed like the billionth time I asked him to try a pea – to my surprise he simply accepted it! He did this hesitantly and not without a strange facial expression but, he actually ate it and then accepted another pea and then another! The emotions that I experienced, I can only liken to that of winning the lottery (not that I have ever won the lottery – much to my dismay!).
Since this momentous event, we have given J raw baby carrots which he seems to really enjoy as they are sweeter than larger carrots, he has tried red pepper houmous, baby spinach, guacamole, sour cream and chive dip and sausage. For a mother of a child whose health has concerned us since he was a few weeks old, this is a huge feat and not an easy one. For the past two and a half years J has more or less survived upon bland food, fruit and milk and we have found that as he has grown he was not able to function on such a meagre diet. In fact earlier, this year J began to look very pale, tired and his behaviour was becoming more and more challenging so, we made an appointment with our G.P and he was prescribed an iron supplement. Also, J being hypermobile (a tiptoe walker) may have contributed to this – but, that is another post!).
As J began to try new foods more or less willingly I cannot really explain what we may have done to encourage this however, there are one or two tips that I can give to those who may find themselves in a similar situation –
1. Offer food to children such as J in very small amounts to begin with – divide any vegetables or fruit into miniscule amount and offer your child the smallest bit. They are more likely to find this manageable and be willing to eat more of the new food that you are offering.
2. Continue to offer new food – even if they refuse them time after time! This is so frustrating and disheartening never mind about the concerns that you have about food wastage! I remember reading some where that a child has to offered a new food at least ten times before they are willing to try it – in our case it was more like a hundreds of times! Consistency is the key.
3. If your child does not like vegetables begin by offering them milder tasting and sweeter vegetables such as baby carrots, baby spinach and peas etc.
4. If children do not like the texture of vegetables that you offer them, food process vegetables and offer your children vegetable dips such as guacamole, sour cream and chive, red pepper houmous etc.
5. Some children continue not to like dishes that include a variety of ingredients so offer children a smorgasbord – foods that are served separately and not combined – this allows children to combine food if they desire. This enables the child to feel as if they are in control and therefore, are more willing to try new foods.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of tips – do you have a fussy eater – if so, are there any tips that you can add?