How I help my kids to discover new ingredients

Picky eaters can be tricky, but don't worry! There are plenty of options you can try to get your children to try new ingredients. Here's how one mom got her son to try new foods and how you can add new tastes to your own child's diet. For more tips like this, visit EverydayMe today!

“You get an eater or you get a sleeper.”

That’s the folk wisdom veteran parents passed down to me when my son was born. A cat napper on his best day, my baby screeched when I laid him in his crib and wailed if I rolled more than an arm’s length away from him in our bed.

So I was cavalier when we started him on solids at around eight months. His eating habits couldn’t possibly be any more unpalatable than his sleep ones, I thought grumpily.

Thankfully, they weren’t. My kid sucked down fruit and veggie purees no problem. When he began eating, our pediatrician had recommended starting him on single mushy foods one at a time (to avoid choking and to watch for allergies), only then blending tastes and adding spices. With each new bite, his eyes would widen as he batted for the spoon.


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He ate his share of processed yogurt puffs and machined baby food pouches, for sure. But my son’s truest gastronomic love was anything he’d not tasted before. “Bite?” he’d ask after finishing his own meal, swatting at our plates.

Parent friends shook their heads in disbelief. I promised that the only tactic we’d used was never refusing our son’s request to taste something. And then I reminded them that their children slept more than three consecutive hours, day and night.

How to Get Kids to Try New Ingredients
Introducing new tastes to kids early in their eating careers helps reduce their pickiness about foods later on. So how can you offer a wide array?

  1. Keep New Foods Around
    When children see their parents eating and enjoying something, they’re more likely to give it a try themselves. (It’s the old “I’ll have what she’s having,” bit.) Plan a varied diet for you and your partner and your child’s eating horizons will automatically be broader.
  2. Let Them Choose New Foods
    For little babies, that means letting them eat from your plate if something looks especially appealing.

    For toddlers on up, make grocery shopping a democratic affair: Let them choose one new fruit or vegetable during each trip. Think kumquats and star fruit, celeriac and broccoli rabe — anything they select is more likely to be eaten later.
  3. Offer New Tastes Repeatedly
    Just because your child doesn’t gobble green beans the first time you offer them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer them again. Just the opposite, actually. Researchers say it can take up to a dozen times for young children to develop a taste for a new food.
  4. Serve New Foods at the Beginning of the Meal
    Your kid is hungriest then, so he may be more willing to try baked tofu.
  5. Describe Similar Flavors
    As you’re offering something new, give some context: “Kiwis taste a little like a grape and a strawberry — your favorites!”

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