Combining "Old" and "New" Foods to Encourage Acceptance
Updated: Aug 18, 2019
This strategy can help during the transition to purees as well as table foods. For the baby working on spoon-feeding, add a teaspoon of a new food to a serving of a familiar purée. This can be helpful with green vegetables as well as meats if your baby is having difficulty tolerating certain flavors or textures. After she accepts the new "mixture", increase to two teaspoons of new food and continue to slowly increase the amount. As always, your baby is more likely to accept a new flavor or texture if she is self-feeding - it is also helpful to put some on her tray and let her dip her spoon or fingers in it to explore it with her hands.
For children transitioning to table food, make sure to offer small amounts of a new food (think 1-2 pieces) on the tray or plate with a typical serving of 1-2 familiar foods. Do not draw attention to the new food, but let your child explore the food at her own pace. The familiar foods will "get her going" with the meal and if interested, she will explore and maybe eat the new food. At the same time she is eating, you should model how to eat the new food you put in front of her as children look for social cues when presented with an unfamiliar food. They look to their parent/caregiver to check in, make sure the food is okay to eat, and even to figure out "how" to eat it. Do not become frustrated if her first encounter simply involves her looking at it and pushing it away. It can take 10-20 exposures for her to eat it!