How to Get My Toddler to Try New Foods : 10+ Easy Hacks to Try!

Struggling with how to get your toddler to try new foods?

I’ve been there! It’s not always easy to persuade a little person who has just learnt the word ‘NO!’, and is excited to try out their newly discovered autonomy, to try something new when the familiar feels so safe. I discovered these 10 hacks during the early years of parenting my two kids, as well as caring for the children I childminded.

With just one hack, you can run the risk of it losing it’s ‘magic’, but with this selection of 10, you can alternate them and mix-and-match to get your toddler confidently exploring new tastes and textures.

It is possible to have a toddler who eats a wide variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables. It is possible to get a toddler who hates new foods and is super fussy to slowly become more open-minded about new textures and flavours. Most likely though, it will take time, whichever method you choose.

I hope these 10 hacks help you find the best way to get your toddler to try new food

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Pin text reads, 10+ easy hacks when your toddler wont try new foods. #4 surprised me! Image of a toddler in highchair with hands over eyes to avoid looking at food.

1. Shopping Together

Giving your toddler a bit more of control can often defuse power struggle around tricky topics like eating. When I took my son shopping, I challenged him to find a couple of new foods we could all try as a family. It was great fun and he chose things that looked interesting to him and then announced to us all at teatime that we all had to try the new foods that HE had chosen!

We spend so much time telling our toddlers what to do and what not to do. When we are able to give them some choice and help them to feel more in control, it can really help with cooperation.

2. Pick your Time!

Have you ever been away from home over lunchtime and felt so hungry that you ended up buying something that you wouldn’t normally eat, just because it was available and you wanted to eat right away?

Now, of course I am not suggesting we let our little one’s get really hungry. However, you know that moment, a little before a meal-time, when they are starting to get hungry and begging for a snack? This is the perfect moment to try offering something new to try while they wait for you to finish making their dinner.

Suddenly that new food becomes far more appealing! When you’re hungry, everything tastes better too, so hopefully there’s more chance they will like it too!

3. Include Guaranteed Wins!

Now of course you cannot always guarantee that your child will like a new food, however, I know with my kids that I can predict they are much more likely to like a new sweet (candy) than a piece of lettuce!

To make sure that trying new foods doesn’t just become a euphemism for eating ‘yucky’ food, make sure to mix in new foods that you’re pretty sure they will like alongside the one’s you’re not so sure about. I make sure to do this when there has been a run of new foods my kid’s have not enjoyed. It stops them being put off trying new foods, by balancing bad experiences with good.

Pin text reads, 10+ easy hacks for getting toddler to try new foods when you've tried everything else! Image of toddler eating a giant piece of broccoli.

4. Movie Night Autopilot Snacking

You know what it’s like when you watch a movie. It’s impossible not to snack absentmindedly if there are snacks right in front of you.

So how about putting out some new snacks to try during the movie? This is a great low-pressure way to introduce new food, as it’s just there to be taken or left without anyone watching you.

5. Consider Edible Sensory Play

It’s worth considering whether edible sensory play might work for your family if your kids are still young. This can be a great way to familiarise young children with different foods and encourage small tastes and exploration if you have a very picky eater or a little one with sensory issues around food.

It doesn’t work for everyone, but if you think this might be an option for your family you can get started by looking at: Edible Sensory Play Ideas here.

6. Prepping Together

Kids are more likely to eat something that they have helped prepare or cook themselves. They may even want to try bits of it along the way.

Why? Because it interests them and it’s relevant to them as its something they are part of. Kid’s are naturally curious. They have also had time to get used to this new food. And lastly, preparing food makes you feel hungry! Right?

Pin text reads, 10+ easy hacks when your toddler wont try new foods #2 is pure genius!

7. Subtly add it to their plate without ceremony

We just pop a new food onto their plate near the edge, not touching (contaminating in my kids eyes!) any other food. Then, depending on your parenting choices, either leave it up to them to choose to eat it, or tell them to try a little piece.

It’s just a small amount on the plate compared to the others foods that they do like so they can see it in proportion and even if they don’t eat it, they are getting used to seeing it on their plate at mealtimes. That’s the first step!

8. Try New Foods Chart

Charts work well for our family as my kids love writing on what new foods they have tried and trying to beat their grandparents or their cousins! You can use this chart as a competition like we do, or as a reward chart, or just as a fun way of recording what your family are trying each week. Hit the pink button to grab it as an instant pdf download!

Image of the try new food chart with a little note on it saying free pdf.

9. Make it look appealing

Kid’s are very visual and the nicer a food looks, the better chance they’ll try it! For some toddlers, having their food arranged in a fun picture on their plate can really help make mealtimes more fun and encourage them to try new foods.

10. Special Song

Most toddlers just love fun songs! When our daughter was struggling to move away from mostly beige foods, we tried singing her a funny little song about trying new food. We personalized it to her and she LOVED it! Then at the end she got a big round of applause!

Now, of course, this one is totally dependant on your child’s personality. Low-pressure methods, like I’ve shared above, may work better if you’re child doesn’t like a fuss being made. However, if your child is anything like mine, they’ll love having a big fuss made and start demanding the ‘trying song’ whenever and where ever they try new foods! (A tad cringy in a packed restaurant!)

11. Magic Trick

This little trick can’t be used too often or it begins to lose it’s effect!

However, we have had quite good luck by suggesting our daughter eats up the piece of new food on her plate when her dad is looking the other way and then declaring ‘It’s magic! It disappeared!’

We reserve this ‘magic trick’ only for new foods she is trying, otherwise dinnertime can become very loud and drawn out!

12. Feeding their Doll or Teddy

Sometimes getting teddy to try a new food first can help our toddlers feel brave enough to have a try. A teddy bear’s picnic where you have small pieces of familiar and unfamiliar foods laid out on the picnic rug can also work well.

How to Get my Toddler to Try New Foods

These are all ideas that I have come up with over the years of being a mom and childminder. It completely depends on your child as to which will work best for you, but usually a few of these will be quite effective at getting your little one more comfortable with trying new foods.