This week’s Tuesday Tip for Picky Eaters: The Importance of Texture.
Children frequently go through food phases. They like something one day but not the next. As a parent it can be difficult not to get stressed out about what foods your child will eat. You may be tempted to assume that your child does not like a food after offering it a few times, but the issue may not be about taste.
|Henry squishes a banana with his hands.|
In observing Henry’s eating patterns, I have noticed that texture is critical. Some kids develop aversions to mushy foods, while others go through phases of not wanting to eat crunchy foods. Currently, Henry is boycotting squishy foods like bananas or steamed apples that stick to his fingers. He seems interested in exploring the texture but he does not want to put them in his mouth. Since he eats almost exclusively with his hands, he first experiences each food using his sense of touch.
My approach is to continue offering Henry the opportunity to experience food multiple times in a variety of forms. I still offer squishy foods so that he can explore their curious texture, but I also make sure those flavors appear in forms that he is more likely to actually taste. Henry is happy to gobble up banana pancakes or munch on raw apple slices without a second thought.
|Henry munches on a whole pear.|
If your child refuses a food, try offering it in a new way. Vegetables and fruits can be eaten raw, steamed, mashed, roasted, or grilled. You can also add vegetables to soups, omelets, or as pizza toppings. Fruits can be blended into smoothies or baked into muffins. Sandwiches are another versatile forum for fruits and vegetables that offer a familiar texture. You can top a deli sandwich with cucumber and bell pepper strips, add sliced bananas to a peanut butter sandwich, or layer thin sliced apples or pears on a grilled cheese sandwich.