Introducing new foods at meals can be stressful because you want, maybe you need, your child to eat what you have prepared.
Well, maybe you did that before. But now that you have been following along with this step-by-step, blow-by-blow guide to introducing new foods, you know that expecting a child to eat new food is the problem.
- Unless you’re child is an experienced taster, I don’t recommend you introduce new foods at meals.
- If you’re child is comfortable tasting new foods, then introducing them at meals is fine.
- However, don’t change your expectations. Even when new foods are introduced at meals, you should only expect your child to take a taste.
If you haven’t yet grown a good taster than even if you say, “just take a taste,” your child won’t really taste the food. She’ll just go through the motions to be a “good” child.
- She’ll just put it in her mouth.
- Swallow the food (if you’re lucky).
- Say she doesn’t like it.
- And move on to the food she really wants to eat.
(If you’re new, start this series here.)
The key is reducing or eliminating pressure. That is what the BACKUP does. The backup is a legal “out.”
In my last post I suggested that you make sure there is always something on the table that your child can reasonably be expected to eat. Those alternate foods are a kind of backup.
The Backup is a single item that is not part of the meal but that your child can select to eat whenever he doesn’t want you are serving. But it’s not chosen after the rejection. And it’s not chosen by negotiation.
The backup is a food that you (and hopefully your kids) have chosen when you’re not at the table eating. It’s one food. It’s always the same.
After your child has indulged in the power of the backup, he’ll start to eat the new food.
But only if he’s an experienced taster and only if you don’t put any pressure on him. Let the structure of the backup do its work.
1. The Backup must always be the same food.
The less negotiation, the less fighting.
2. The Backup must always be available.
The backup needs to be on hand every time your child wants it. Otherwise you’ll just end up negotiating what the backup will be that night.
3. The Backup must be nutritious.
That way you won’t worry if (or should I say when?) your child chooses it every night for a week.
4. The Backup must be a no-cook item.
The point is to make your life easier, not harder.
5. The Backup must not be a preferred food.
You want your child to like, but not to love, the Backup so there is no incentive for her to repeatedly choose it over the main meal.
Potential Backup Foods
- Cottage Cheese. Click here to read how I used this backup in my own home.
- Canned Chickpeas
- Frozen Peas
- Plain yogurt
Foods you should never use as a Backup
- PB&J or any sandwich
- Flavored Yogurt
- Pizza, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, etc.
Got questions? Ask.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~