Trying New Foods
Continue to introduce new foods to your child, but do not force them. This is a period when food plays an important role, both good and bad, in your child’s life. It can make her feel more grown up, or give her control over you. Be very careful!
To introduce something new to a toddler, place no more than one or two tablespoons of it on the plate. Do not announce it or let them know it is new. Do not watch in anticipation, or warn them they may not like it. Just sit down and eat it too.
If they don’t like it, and many will not, let it go for this meal, but try it again another night. Sometimes it takes a dozen tries before a child will try something new. The key is to not make a fuss about it. If this refusal to eat gets attention, the behavior will continue, even if the attention is negative.
Distaste and fear of food contamination is common in toddlers. It could be a natural survival mechanism, meant to prevent recently mobile kids from eating everything in sight. Foods that look, smell, and taste weird are often immediately rejected.
New foods or textures mixed into familiar foods are frequently detected because a child’s palate is more sensitive than an adult’s. Not only will the food be rejected, but the parent will lose trust.
Foods that the child believes resemble something gross (such as noodles that look like worms) may be rejected. Often, anything touching the “worms,” or merely on the same plate, will also be rejected by association. Forcing the issue in cases like this can make matters much worse, leading to retching and vomiting. Letting matters get to this point has the potential for a long-term negative association with that food, and the battle is lost.