New Ways to Tempt Picky Eaters Through Learning and Play

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  Published on Tuesday, 02 March 2021

New Ways to Tempt Picky Eaters Through Learning and Play

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & Nutrition
  Published on Tuesday, 02 March 2021

Encouraging young children to try healthy new foods can be a challenge for parents and educators alike.

As anyone who has sat beside a picky eater faced with an unfamiliar flavour or texture knows, convincing them to try something new takes consistency, perseverance and often a little creativity.

To help, the Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS), a programme delivered by Nutrition Australia Victorian Division with support from the Victorian Government, has released new resources for early childhood educators to make healthy eating fun.

The resources, which were developed by an early years nutrition expert, provide educators with simple and practical tips on dealing with fussy eaters and explain how to introduce new tastes and textures in engaging ways that link to learning outcomes and skill development.

“Children are exposed to many roles in early childhood education and care, such as other children, educators and staff, which can reinforce the hard work happening at home. Using games and activities is a great way to help children learn about healthy eating while having fun at the same time,” says Amy Wakem, a dietitian at the Healthy Eating Advisory Service.

“We suggest engaging children in healthy eating experiences, teaching them to recognise different foods and encouraging them to experiment with new foods, tastes, flavours and textures – while working on other learning and developmental areas.”

The resources are available free on the healthy curriculum activities page of the HEAS website.

Here, you’ll find healthy and easy-to-follow recipes you can try with children aged two to four years old, such as egg and corn bread cups and minestrone soup, practical tips on how you can introduce youngsters to new dishes, and fun activities such as ‘taste the rainbow’ that involve reading about healthy foods and learning why we should eat them, cooking and eating foods of different colours.

In addition, there is a ‘How-to’ series of four bite-size videos presented by the HEAS’s nutrition expert with easy, actionable tips on fostering healthy eating in the early childhood years through art, science, play and mealtimes.

Video topics include how to create a happy and supportive mealtime environment at your service so that children feel comfortable trying something new; introducing healthy food and drinks through fun games; cooking as a science activity involving counting, measuring and the opportunity to get hands-on with new ingredients and ideas for presenting new foods through art (including tips on how to avoid food waste by using scraps such as beetroot tops and carrot peels, and how to repurpose food used in activities such as planting seeds used in art). 

For more tips on how your organisation can promote healthy eating habits for children, visit the Healthy Eating Advisory Service.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 01 March 2021