Q. How can I get my kids to try new foods?

A. First, what not to do: bribe, threaten or nag. “Contingency strategies,” such as promising that if “finish your peas, then you can watch television,” tend to reinforce a child’s negative associations with foods. Keep your encouragement positive.

Make lots of different healthy choices available. Nutrition experts frequently advise parents to expose young children to lots of different tastes: it teaches them to accept a variety of healthy foods. If your child hates something the first time he tries it, don’t give up. Research shows that it can take as many as 10 to 15 tastes before a child will learn to appreciate a new flavor.

But the most effective strategies for getting your kids to eat well is to practice what you preach. Research conducted by Jennifer Orlet Fisher, Ph.D., one of the foremost experts on the development of eating behavior in children, shows that young children learn to prefer foods that are familiar and ones presented as acceptable in their homes.

Bottom line: The best way to teach someone that healthy foods are important (and delicious) is to enjoy them yourself.


My son is so picky, I get so frustrated I mean I make pizza because he will eat


04/15/2016 - 5:57pm

I have a 12-year old son who will eat certain foods like chicken nuggets/strips, pizza, pb&j and junk foods. I have tried to bribe him, threaten him, etc., but nothing has worked. He says he would rather starve then to try something new. Good to see that I am not alone. This has put a real strain on my marriage because my wife blames me for this. I agree because in the past I would always give him another option, but seeing as how other parents are in the same boat, I realize that this is not uncommon.


06/15/2015 - 7:44pm

My 15 year old son will not try foods, he only eats: top ramen, plain hamburgers, chicken nuggets, French frys, bacon., chips, Maybe scramble eggs once every few months but other than that nothing else. I have made him sit at the table to try different foods he refuses to put food close to his mouth he will start gagging, he has done this Sinice he was a toddler. Doctor has always said he will out grow this, I would like to know when? Cause my son tells me he will starve before he try's other foods. What can parents do?


04/03/2015 - 5:56pm

Cant get my 6 year old and 8 year old to eat potatoes, vegetables, fish ,help please


01/07/2014 - 8:34am

My toddler will not try anything new. He's never had meat and won't even touch new foods. Our pediatrician told us to put something infront of him and if he chooses to not eat it, that's his choice. When he's hungry again put the same thing back infront of him. We did the and he never ate anything. he was sobbing and begging for food by bedtime. As hard as it was we stuck to it and sent him o bed hungry. He woke up at 4 am thirsty so I gave him water, 20 minutes later he threw up the water. Help?!? Tha broke my heart. He was so hungry. I made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and he ate it so fast. What do I do tomorrow?


12/04/2013 - 7:16am

Hunger is the best remedy - they'll eat then.


03/12/2013 - 11:01am

My 5year old stops eating fish and meat and says he doesn't like d taste,
please what can I do to get him back to eating them.


01/24/2013 - 2:06am

How can I get my 3 year old to eat any veggies?


12/15/2012 - 2:31am

my teenager has a friend who won't eat anything but plain pasta, chicken nuggets or pizza pockets... i need help teaching her about food and flavours.... any suggestions?


06/24/2012 - 3:29am

my child will not try nothing new and screams and throws her plate if i put something new on her plate


03/11/2012 - 11:24am

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner