Neophobia

Well, it’s been over a year since I posted anything (whoops!) and since Sweet Potato is going through new phases in her eating life, I thought it was time to start again.

When I last wrote, SP ate just about anything I put in front of her most of the time.  These days she has a few favorite foods (peanut butter, cookies, broccoli, and almost anything her dad is eating), and won’t try anything else.  For example, yesterday we had steamed broccoli and leftover tuna-rice casserole. She has yet to even try tuna- rice or tuna-noodle casserole, but she ate all her broccoli.  Today we had spinach salads and manicotti. She ate a couple spinach leaves dipped in salad dressing, and refused to eat a bite of manicotti until her dad told her she couldn’t have anything that he might later eat unless she at least ate all the noodles.  She then had a couple small bites.

Her neophobia is expressing itself not just in her refusal of mixed foods, but of plain foods that she used to like.  I used to give SP plain soy milk on a regular basis, and she liked it, even calling it chocolate milk. But then the cost got to me and I quit buying soy milk for quite a while. Now she won’t drink it. I even tried giving her mostly dairy milk with a little soy milk mixed in, and she wouldn’t have that, either.

From what I read, neophobia is a phase we just have to get through. I will continue (or re-start) cooking healthy foods, and remind myself that just looking at the food on her plate and watching Mom and Dad eat them counts as a “food exposure,” and it may take 20 of these for her to like a food. I also need to remember that toddlers generally like non-mixed foods better than casseroles.  And when I make casseroles, I need to provide a plain food like bread or rice for her to fill up on if she chooses not to eat the main dish. No one likes to put a kid to bed hungry, and she’ll get over this phase eventually and start liking foods again.

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