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Wilburn: Introduce your kids to new foods slowly

POSTED: April 29, 2009 1:00 a.m.

Every parent knows that sometimes, kids won't eat new foods.

But that doesn't mean they will never eat that food.

Kids change their minds often, so if you offer that same food again they may decide they like it, gobble it up and ask for seconds.

By trying new foods, kids develop taste preferences. Parents shouldn't force children to eat all of a new food, or to clean their plate. A small taste may lead to a bigger taste next time.

Here are some tips to get children to try new foods:

  • Have a positive attitude. Serve new foods to your child and expect that they will eventually learn to like them.
  • Don't force your child to eat. As they become more familiar with it, they may decide to taste it.
  • Let your child help prepare the food. This can be something simple like tearing lettuce for a salad or stirring pancake batter. As you prepare it together, you and they can talk about the color, shape, and texture of the food.
  • Serve new foods when your child is hungry. Let the new food be the first thing your child eats. He might not want to try something new if he has already filled up on his favorites.
  • Serve one new food at a time. Don't overwhelm your child by serving a plate full of new foods.
  • Respect your child's food preferences. Just be sure to offer your child other foods from the same food group at other meals and snacks.
  • Be a good role model. Eat a new food in front of your child and let them see how much you are enjoying it.

Debbie Wilburn is county extension agent in family and consumer science with the Hall County Extension. Contact: 770-535-8290.


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