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It is important that toddlers see parents eating and enjoying healthy food – are you a good role model for your child? It is normal for young children to be wary about eating a food they have not met before and these are ways to help them.

  • Offer the food in a happy environment. Children tend to like foods that they associate with fun. (This is why fast food outlets can become so popular.)

  • Keep offering the food on several occasions. It can take 8 to 15 tries before the food becomes familiar and a child accepts it.
  • Don’t insist that the food is eaten and don’t offer a reward for eating it. Both of these measures have been shown to make children dislike that food.
  • Children are more likely to want a food if they are told they can’t have it or if it is used as a reward.

Children have the natural ability to know how much food they need and they do not usually overeat. However they can easily lose this skill. If children are pushed to eat more than they want or encouraged to finish everything on the plate, they may learn not to stop when they have had enough. This can lead to weight problems later.

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