Introducing New Foods Cheat Sheet

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Introducing New Foods to Your Picky Eater. One Simple Trick.

Do you have a picky eaters, at home? One of the most frustrating times is when you give your picky eater a new food and they refuse to even try it. I want to share with you a magic trick that you can use when introducing new foods to your fussy eater that will transform them into happy children who want to try new foods. Sounds too good to be true?

Let me introduce you to my son, Galen. He’s 8 now. He’s the sort of boy who won’t eat something because he’s made up his mind that he doesn’t like it.

There are times when I know he’d like something if only he’d give it a fair chance. If only he’d try it with an open mind. If only he hadn’t decided that it was “EVIL and YUCKY.”

Sound familiar?

Introducing new foods to your fussy eater. One simple trick that works like magic. I wish I'd known it 3 years ago.

This is really frustrating for parents. Both my husband and I struggle and it’s difficult not to tell him to “just try one tiny mouthful”.

Children Like Accepted Foods

We know that our children would like the food if only they’d give it a fair chance. But how do you convince them to do that? To turn your thoughts around so that they WANT to try something?

I know that it takes time for things to get on the accepted list. I know that the more I push, the less he’s likely to try something enough times to get it on the “accepted list”.

At times I’m tempted to use the “one polite bite” trick.

I have tried being patient. I have tried waiting. I have tried meditating, pondering my navel and gazing at the stars.

Still my stubborn little 8 year old. Will. Not. Eat. Mushrooms. Or Overnight oats. Or aubergines.

Fussy Eaters have Powerful Brains

Now, I suspect that there is an element of not liking slimy textures BUT I know that most of it is in his brain.

He once ate 3 bowls of mushroom risotto. Gobbled it up, wolfed it down, smacked his lips. He didn’t notice those little brown bits for the first 2 and a half bowls and when he finally did, he claimed he’d managed to avoid eating any of them.

Er hello?

His brain would not admit that that he had eaten and even ENJOYED such a revolting thing as a bit of mushroom.

So let me tell you about overnight oats.

I LOVE overnight oats. They are quick and easy to make. I add lots of fruit to make them tasty and delicious. (I have a “thing” about evil breakfast cereal. I just don’t get why they have to add sugar and salt to breakfast cereal, even the ones that are pretending to be healthy.)

I like a simple and healthy breakfast.

The best thing about overnight oats is, that unlike accepted and beloved porridge (oatmeal) they are ready waiting for us in the morning. We have to spring out of bed 10 minutes early to make porridge.

Give me a break!

(As a side note, Galen has taken to waking up 10 minutes early and actually making porridge for us all. I guess he really like porridge.)

So yes, I love love love overnight oats. But guess what? Despite being pretty much the same as porridge, just cold (which is great for the summer) Galen “doesn’t like them”. He did try them once about half a century ago and then categorised them as “unliked” and hasn’t revisited his categorisation since.

I have tried being patient. I have tried waiting. I have tried meditating, pondering my navel and gazing at the stars.

And now at the beginning of the school year, I’d like to be able to make overnight oats that my children will happily eat. (Sadly opening up his mouth and ramming them in is against my feeding philosophy, however tempting it may be.)

I’m fed up of being patient. I’m fed up of waiting. I fed up of meditating, pondering my navel and gazing at the stars.

Now I’m going to take action.

What Does Your Fussy Eater Like to Eat?

So I asked him what I could do to make overnight oats more appealing?

The answer?


As simple as that. You may be tempted to call it bribery but I’m going with “food pairing”. When you present a food with another accepted food, the new food stands a better chance of being accepted. (Fact! There’s even science to back it up for you and everything.)

Day 1. I make the most delicious, tasty peaches and cream overnight oats I can. I use cream, vanilla essence and some honey so that the actual oats are really delicious. A bit like dessert for breakfast but technically healthy (seriously, a whole lot more healthy that your average packet of cereal.)

Sprinkles on top and all the kids are happy.

Mummy does a silent “happy dance” and gloats to a friend who is staying with us. I don’t let the kids see how stoked I am that Galen is eating the oats.

Day 2. Same treatment except I use yoghurt instead of cream (I ran out of cream) and a little less honey.

Day 3. No cream or yoghurt, just milk, water and vanilla essence. A small amount of honey.

Day 4. The kids are asking where the overnight oats are. I haven’t made any. We eat cereal instead (with some cut up fruit or cold baked peaches.) I am secretly gloating that they ASKED for overnight oats although they didn’t make much of a fuss when I said it was cereal.

Day 5. More oats. No honey, just vanilla essence, water and a splash of milk.

Galen is now happily eating overnight oats without any fuss. All for the price of a few sprinkles. 

I’m going to let them eat finish the sprinkles that we have and then stop. (They’ve already been told this, it’s not going to be a horrible surprise for them.)

One awesome mum fist bump!

My Fussy Eater 6 Months Later

Guess what? We've hardly eaten over night oats over the winter,  they're more a summer breakfast. Now Galen is asking for them!

Try Food Pairing when Introducing New Foods to Your Fussy Eater

Food pairing is a great way to encourage your child to try a new food. Think of things that they like. Yep, sugar is fine (sprinkles are basically coloured and exciting sugar.) For savoury dishes, you could try cheese or bacon bits, or even ketchup or chilli sauce.

Once they see their favourite beloved food, they’ll be more willing to try the strange unfamiliar one.

Dips are another great thing to pair your food with. We love hummus but your child’s favourite cheese dip would be fine too.

Food pairing makes introducing new foods to your picky eater much less scary and much more fun.

I wonder what sprinkles on mushrooms would taste like?

Introducing new foods to your fussy eater. One simple trick that works like magic. I wish I'd known it 3 years ago.