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

Sign up for free parenting support!


The Podcast

Listen Now!

Schedule a 30 minute call today Bring Dina to your community Schedule a Professional Development Seminar

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

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 nNew Foods (2)


Convincing Your Kids to Try that New Food Again...and AGAIN!

One of the biggest challenges parents face is getting their kids to try a new foods multiple times.

If it takes 10-14 exposures before a child will like a new food, the million-dollar question is, "How do you get kids to try the same food that many times?"  

  • It's easier to get kids to taste a new food multiple times than it is to get them to eat that new food multiple times. In fact, if you think about it, kids won't eat food that don't like so expecting them to eat a food multiple times when they dislike it is crazy thinking. That's why we're Growing Good Tasters. Eating comes later.
  • Rewards create the right incentive for multiple exposures. Especially if you let your kids think they're tricking you when you let them taste the same food over and over. Wink, Wink. 

I wrote about how to use rewards last week. If you missed it, click here.

In this post I want to encourage you to give rewards a chance.

REWARDS Rock! And rewards are way more important than modeling. Here's one study.

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.

Researchers asked 136 parents to offer their child a small piece of a disliked (but not hated) vegetable each day for 14 days.

The parent-child pairs were divided into five groups to find out which worked best: modeling, repeated exposure, rewards, or some combination of the three.

The five groups:

  1. Repeated Exposure
  2. Modeling paired with Repeated Exposure
  3. Rewards (stickers) paired with Repeated Exposure
  4. Modeling, paired with Rewards and Repeated Exposure
  5. Nothing. These folks were the control group.

Group 3 (Rewards (stickers) paired with Repeated Exposure) wins!!

Rewards make all the difference.

Groups 3 and 4 experienced more tastings and more improvement in liking than any of the other groups.

So why do I say Group 3 wins? 

  • Both Groups 3 and 4 offered Rewards and Repeat Exposure. The only difference is Modeling in Group 4.
  • The results were statistically similar for  Groups 3 and 4.
  • Therefore, adding modeling to rewards and repeat exposure didn't improve the results.  

Rewards improve your kids' acceptance to repeat exposure. Repeat exposure improves their liking. Modeling is extraneous.

 It's as simple as that!

And one more thing: Praising kids works better than remaining neutral.

So the advice to remain silent/neutral while your kids do the hard work is ill-advised. In this study, parents who praised had better results than parents who were neutral.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Read the next installment in the series.

Source: Holley, C. E., E. Haycraft, and C. Farrow. 2015. “'Why Don't You Try it Again?' a Comparison of Parent Led, Home Based Interventions Aimed At Increasing Children's Consumption of a Disliked Vegetable.” appetite 87: 215-22.


Introducing New Foods: "Yuk" is as Good as "Yum"

Parents often get put off when their children taste something new and declare it a disaster. When it comes to Growing a Good Taster, though, "Yuk" is as good as "Yum."

This may be the most counterintuitive piece of advice you've ever received, but it's true. The reason is simple: Your goal is to engage your children in exploration. And "Yuk" can stimulate as much, if not more, exploration/conversation than "Yum."

When kids say "yuk," the only thing parents should say is "why?" The conversation that follows will do all the heavy lifting. Your children will learn about the food, learn about their feelings, and learn about how to interact positively with you around food and their feelings.

If you are new to this series, start here.

When Growing a Good Taster, your job isn't to find the foods your children like.

Taste preferences are formed more than they are found. Learning to taste new foods is a way of forming taste preferences.

Two things to keep in mind:

1) Children under 5 do not have Stable Taste Preferences.

This is how children can love something one minute and hate it the next. So don't take what your children say about food so seriously. Let the moment pass.

2) "Yuk" doesn't always mean "Yuk."

Kids use the words they know to get the job done. Here are some things "Yuk" can mean:

  • I think this is really weird.
  • That was the most unusal flavor I have ever encountered.
  • I really don't want you to think about making me eat this. Ever. (Even if I really do like it.)
  • Can I go watch TV now?

You haven't asked your children to eat what they are tasting, have you? If you have, then "yuk" almost certainly means, "I don't want to eat this."

This is tasting. Eating comes later.

The conversation is more important than the content of the conversation.

Don't be afraid to get silly: "Does this smell like a dirty sock?"

And don't be afraid to acknowledge that your children might not like something they have just tasted:

  • "When kids are your age what they like changes a lot. That's why it's good to taste things lots of times."
  • "When I was young I didn't like rice. Now I do. Maybe you just haven't tasted it enough times."
  • "Not every apple tastes exactly alike. That's why we are going to taste lots of different kinds of apples."

Questions? Ask. See you tomorrow. 

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Read the next installment in the series.