Let’s talk about your child’s food preferences …
Which of these foods does your child prefer?
Bet you can answer all the questions easily, huh? (Though admittedly, some of your answers might be “They don’t like either!”) So what’s my point?
As a parent, we are incredibly tuned into which foods our child prefers – and this can be a problem!
Let’s say that as a one year old your child ate both strawberries and blueberries very happily. Then when they hit two years old, you notice they seem to PREFER strawberries to blueberries. Perhaps they eate them more enthusiastically. Or they sometimes leave a few blueberries but always eat all their strawberries. Or if you give both together, they eat the strawberries first. So the next time you’re in the fruit aisle in the supermarket deciding between strawberries and blueberries, you reach for the strawberries. You want to make sure your child eats plenty of fruit – and you want to be kind and get them the one they like best. You take them home and see your child eating them happily. And so you buy strawberries instead of blueberries the next time. And the next time. And the next time …
This is a slippery slope! Your child may have preferred strawberries to blueberries – but they didn’t DISLIKE blueberries. They still ate them! But now, even though your intentions were good, blueberries will become a ‘stranger’ to your child. They will become unfamiliar and if or when they do see them again, they are likely to complain. “But you used to eat them,” you might say. Too late. They’re used to getting what has now become their old reliable: Strawberries!
Be careful not to follow your child’s preferences. If you do, preferences will solidify into likes and dislikes.
Keep serving a variety of foods. And gently start re-introducing any less preferred foods you phased out. Next time you’re in the fruit aisle and you reach for the strawberries, stop yourself and plump for blueberries instead. You’re not expecting them to start eating these foods straight away. You’re just reversing the process and gradually getting your child familiar and ‘friendly’ with them again.
Scared of how your child will react if you give them new and different foods? Read about the ‘Magic’ sentences!