Rather than forcing your child to eat new foods, make it exciting to sample something they haven't tried before. Try "ants on a log". Cut celery stalk into small log size and fill with peanut butter and top with raisins. Or make a face on a pear half using pieces of fruit and raw vegetables.
Involving your child in the meal preparation and selection of a fruit or vegetable or glass of a fruit and vegetable juice blend is a great way to peak their interest in healthy diet decision-making.
Offer a variety of foods, so your child has choices. Get them familiar with foods that you like and then find fun ways to prepare the same foods with seasonings and spices that will make it more enjoyable for your child.
Know that if children choose not to eat every time they are served a meal or snack, they will make up for it later in the day when they are hungrier.
Small meals throughout the day are not bad. Many picky eaters get most of their food at snack time, so make sure you are offering healthy and nutritious snacks and they will grow and grow.
When your child is eating, make sure they are not walking around the house with food and/or a drink in hand. Have them sit in the kitchen or at a play table and not sitting and watching a video or television as they eat. This could become a bad food habit.
Research shows that it can take 8-15 tries of a new food before your child accepts it... so just keep offering new foods and over time your child will expand their choices. Often parents stop offering a new food after 3 to 5 tries- so stay with and keep offering.
Some kids are sensitive to new things. By offering a variety of foods your child will develop their taste preferences while also learning to appreciate different tastes and textures. Try mixing cooked veggies with raw veggies to introduce different textures for the same foods. Using fruits with skin on and off and in different size slices and cuts to form a funny face can also be a fun activity.
Kids learn positive and negative habits based on what is happening around them, so keep mealtimes relaxed and the environment comfortable.
Instead of using food as a bribe or reward - offer a treat and/or dessert if they eat their veggies! If they do not like the food, or have lost interest in eating, let them be excused from the table.
If you are worried that your child is not getting enough to eat, periodically check their weight. Remember your young child will gain weight less quickly than he or she did as an infant. Just stay calm, sit back and relax! Soon your child will be eating a variety of foods, just like you.