I received the following question from a parent this weekend: “Should I make my kid "taste" new foods / challenging foods that I put on his plate? If I don't make him taste them he just ignores them and it's debatable whether we are actually moving closer to him deciding he likes them.”
Should I Make My Kid Taste New Foods?
In short: No, I don’t believe in making kids try new foods.
And YES, there absolutely is progress…even if they don’t try it!
By seeing the food over and over again, you are normalizing the food for your child. Many kids are honestly scared to try new foods. The more times that they see it (even if they don’t try it), the less scary it becomes. And, by seeing you (and other influential people) eat it, it helps them come to trust the food.
You never know when the magical day will come that your child will try it. If you stop serving it now you’ll never know if it would have been the next time, or the time after that.
Tips to Get Kids to Try New Foods
Here are some tips to follow to make sure that each time you’re serving these vegetables you’re maximizing the likeliness that he’ll try them:
- Make sure there isn’t any pressure to try (and like) foods. Many picky eaters are sensitive kids. They can feel pressure coming from you a mile away. By preparing and serving foods you’ve indicated that you want them to eat it. Enough said. Instead, focus your energy on enjoying each other during this family time. It seems counter intuitive, but the more pleasant the table experience, the more likely kids are to try new foods.
- Give small servings. A small serving is less intimidating than a large one. If he tries it and likes it, he can ask for more. If he doesn’t, then you’re minimizing your food waste.
- No “one bite rule” (also known as the “no thank you bite”). While the “one bite rule” may work for some kids, it only fuels picky eating in many, many kids. And while it may get one bite of that food in your child today, it isn’t teaching him to like these foods. What he’s learning is to eat to please others – the opposite of mindful eating.
- Allow touching, licking and spitting out. For picky eaters, putting a food in their mouths is a very intimate action. These steps allow a child to ‘get to know’ a food before eating it. Teach your child how to do these activities with good manners (such as spitting food out into their napkin).