Trying New Foods
The most common statement that I often hear from parents, who are told that they should change their child’s diet, is that they are afraid their child will starve, because they never try new foods.
Many children with special needs are afraid to try new foods and experience new textures. They become so accustomed to what they usually eat that tasting anything new is frightening.
What I suggest to parents is to not force a new food onto their child. Try going 50/50. For example, if you are trying to wean a child from cow’s milk, try adding some new/alternative “milk,” such as rice, almond, hemp or coconut to the milk that they are used to drinking now. You might want to start with an 80/20 beverage mixture first and later adding more of the new substance, if they are not noticing the difference right away (do not let them see you pouring!).
If you want to introduce a new bread, (gluten free, for example), use one slice of familiar bread and one slice of the new bread in a sandwich. Pick a favorite meat or nut butter, so that the child will not focus on the new bread. Find one that emulates the bread he or she is used to eating.
One suggestion when trying a new fruit or vegetable is to allow the child to lick the food first, to get a feeling of the texture and taste. Another option is to include a dip. Kids seem to love to dip foods into something for fun and additional flavor. Items to try are: yogurt, dressings, sauces, melted cheese (or Daiya for a dairy free option), agave nectar, nut butters, cream cheese, sour cream, pudding, butter, olive oil, ketchup, mustard or another favorite condiment.
Try adding flavor to foods with a variety of spices. Again, let the child lick just a bit to experience the new flavor. Some favorite spices are: ginger, garlic, or cinnamon. Use a light amount at first and then, if the child likes the flavor, you can gradually add more to your dishes.
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