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6 Tips for Getting Kids to Try a New Food

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New food a turnoff? Keep trying! Credit: violet monde, Flickr

I made what I thought was a really scrumptious quiche the other night. It got high marks from all parties, anyway, except for my son. Instead of giving the thumbs-up, he gagged and asked for a “wipe” to spit it out into. Not one to admit that he just didn’t like it, I tried again the next day with leftovers. And got the same gagging result. Oops. A few days later, his first bite of fish had the same reaction. I’ve known for a long time that he’s way pickier than his sister ever was or ever will be, but I didn’t want to admit he was a gagger who takes after his father. But turns out he’s just like his dad, who once had to leave the table in a gagging fit when I made halibut. I swear, I may not love to cook, but my cooking is just fine, thank you. These two men are apparently just sensitive, gaggy souls.

But just because someone gags or throws up on you during a meal, it doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to feeding them chicken nuggets all the time!You’ve gotta keep trying. And Sari Davidson-Crevinm, founder of Booginhead and inventor of Squeez’ems reusable food pouches, has tips on introducing picky eaters to new foods. Maybe they’ll even work for my husband!

6 Tips for Getting Kids to Try New Foods

1. Be patient with new foods. Getting a child to try new foods takes time. Avoid pressuring your kids and try to make it a positive experience. Encourage your child by talking about a food’s color, shape, smell and texture. Experts say it can take as many as 10 exposures to a new food before a child decides if he likes it.

2. Get your kids involved with meals. Get your kids involved with the process, from grocery shopping to preparing meals. Also ask for their help when planning the meal. They will feel more in control if they help to make the food decisions.

3. Plant a garden with your kids. Kids love digging in the dirt, planting seeds, picking ripe fruits and vegetables, and washing them. They will be much more interested in eating what they helped to grow.

4. Make dinnertime a family affair. Gather the family around the table and make dinnertime a time to talk about your day and create a relaxed atmosphere that’s ideal for eating without pressure. Make it more interesting by having conversation starters, such as, “If you could be any animal, which would it be?”

5. Make it fun. Serve veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Use cookie cutters to make shapes, serve on a fun plate and get creative. Also offer breakfast foods for dinner, and serve a variety of brightly colored foods.

6. Change the texture. Puree foods so that texture is not an obstacle to healthy eating. You can create all kinds of nutritious combinations of fruits and vegetables by turning it into a smoothie! Reusable food pouches are great for holding healthy purees so kids can eat healthy while on-the-go.

Thanks to Sari for the tips! Anyone else dealing with a house of gaggers? What tricks do you try to encourage trying new food? —Erin

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