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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.

COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

Good advise. I'm always trying new things with my 7 year old, such as new lunches featured here and am finding he tries new things simply because he is bored with what I've been giving him so far.

Anonymous

12/01/2009 - 10:04pm

We try to make tasting fun. We frequent farmers markets with the kids, where they love sampling & we all choose our favorites to bring home!

Anonymous

08/02/2010 - 1:52pm

i have twins i have tried everything to get them to taste new foods but they refuse i have done this many times and wasted more food. can anyone help

Anonymous

01/10/2012 - 10:35am

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

Anonymous

03/11/2012 - 12:24pm

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?

Anonymous

06/24/2012 - 4:29am

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

Anonymous

12/15/2012 - 3:31am

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.

Anonymous

01/24/2013 - 3:06am

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

Anonymous

03/12/2013 - 12:01pm

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?

Anonymous

12/04/2013 - 8:16am

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

Anonymous

01/07/2014 - 9:34am

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