It’s getting kids to eat what parents serve that causes so many problems.

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DINA ROSE, PhD is a sociologist, parent educator and feeding expert empowering parents to raise kids who eat right.

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Links

Dinner Together Building Healthy Families One Meal at a Time.

Food Politics Marion Nestle's intelligent take on the politics of food and nutrition.

Fooducate Like Having a Dietician on Speed dial.

Hoboken Family Alliance A terrific resource for people living in the great city of Hoboken, NJ.

The Lunch Tray Everything you need to know about improving school lunches.

Parent Hacks Forehead-Smackingly Smart Tips

Raise Healthy Eaters One of the best blogs (other than my own) for learning to raise healthy eaters.

Real Mom Nutrition Tales from the Trenches. Advice for the Real World. From a mom-nutritionist who knows!

Stay and Play The best indoor playspace on the East Coast. Oh yeah, and it happens to be owned by my brother.

weelicious Great Recipes for Kids 

Entries in New Foods (100)

Thursday
Mar262015

12 Everyday Opportunities for Exploring New Foods

Growing a Good Taster means encouraging your children to explore new foods with all of their senses...all the time.

Here are some ideas to get you going. (If you're new to this series, start here.)

When Cooking

  • Does this soup need more garlic?
  • Taste this yogurt and tell me if you think Daddy will like it.

At Mealtime

  • Let's put some fruit on the table that matches the color of the tablecloth. Should we use the red or the green grapes?
  • Can you find the single pea that I put in your mashed potatoes?

When You're Out & About

  • Can you smell the bread baking? What do you think that bread would taste like?
  • Look at this package of fruit strips. What does the package make you think is inside? Let's find out if you're right.

In the Grocery Store

  • Let's buy 2 different pears. Which do you think will be the crunchiest? The sweetest? Why?
  • Let's taste those samples!

At a Restaurant

  • Look at this black bean. It came with my taco. Let's squish it with a fork (or your finger).
  • Does this chicken taste like the kind I make at home?

During Playtime

  • Let's make beards with this whipped cream.
  • Which do you think will roll faster: the frozen pea or the thawed pea? Let's find out.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Wednesday
Mar252015

Charts: Another Way to Encourage Multiple Tastings

You know it takes multiple exposures for kids to accept a new food. But one problem parents encounter is that children sometimes refuse to taste the same food more than once.

Or if they do it once, they won't do it fifteen times. You already know that rewards rock.

This is where a chart comes in handy.  (If you're new to this series, start here.)

You've already explained to your kids that the same food doesn't always taste the same.

Foods are different when they are:

  • Cooked with a different recipe.
  • Prepared by different chefs.
  • At different phases of ripening.


Now, explain that our taste buds don't always taste things the same way. And chart the results.

Think science experiment. Use either a 5 point rating system from "Really Yucky" to "Really Yummy," use Thumbs Up, Thumbs Middle, Thumbs Down, or use different descriptors. Read Two Hundred Tantalizing Terms to Move Beyond, "I don't like it."

It doesn't matter what rating system you choose.

1. Acknowledge your children's experiences:

  • "I know you didn't really like this last time." or 
  • "Last time you said this was too sweet."

2. Discuss the fact that people's opinions fluctuate.

  • "Did you know our taste buds change too. Especially when we're just growing."
  • "Sometimes food tastes good because we are in a good mood and bad because we are in a bad mood. It's not always about the food that changes. We change too."

3. Talk about how fun and interesting it would be to see these fluctuations in action!

  • "Let's keep track of what you think on this chart. We can watch your opinions go up and down. I wonder if they will go up more often or down more often!"
  • "Let's keep track of all your senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste on the chart."

~Changing the conversation from nutriiton to habits.~

Read the next installment in the series.

Monday
Mar232015

You Probably Need a Pep Talk Right About Now

After three weeks this tasting gig probably feels like a chore. Yesterday's news. Just another thing on the to-do list.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Growing a Good Taster takes time. 

If you are new to this series, The Step-by-Step, Blow-by-Blow Guide to Introducing New Foods that's Guaranteed to Change How Your Kids Eat, start here.

Does it help to remember that it probably took your child a couple of years to get into a food rut in the first place?

And that teaching your children to say "please" and "thank you" took forever?

Learning to explore new foods takes the same kind of repetition. And patience.

As long as you aren't putting on the pressure, you are making progress.

  • "Don't you want to eat this?"=pressure
  • "Oh come on, do you remember yesterday's taste? It was delicious!=pressure
  • Even thinking to yourself, "He only tastes crackers and cookies. He won't even look at 'real' food."=pressure.

But you're not doing any of those things. 

Progress can be subtle.

  • "She happily smelled this banana. Hurray!"=progress.
  • "Everywhere we go, he is noticing how different foods look."=progress.
  • "Yesterday, she looked at my plate and asked me what something was."=progress.

You're doing a great job!

The key to success is to make exploring new foods a habit.

Although it is helpful to set aside time every day to for taste-testing (or smell-testing, etc.) you don't have to schedule this in.

You can be completely opportunistic.

 

  • Grocery shopping is an opportunity to talk about colors.
  • Your meal is an opportunity to discuss textures.
  • Cooking is an opportunity for tasting. "Does this soup have enough salt?"

 

Practise Making Predictions: Ask, "What do you think this will smell like?"

The point of Growing a Good Taster is to help your children predict what a new food will taste like because it is the power of prediction that gives your kids the data they need to be brave.

What do you do when you encounter an unfamiliar food? You start going through the memory files to see what that strange food might be like. Kids don't have a lot to go on. Cautious or controlling kids shut down.

For more on this topic read: Look Into My Crystal Ball, That Fried Chicken Might As Well be Fried Crickets

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Read the next installment in the series.