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5 Steps to Getting Your Kid to Try a New Food

Todd Coleman

1.  Sorry for the all caps but DO NOT OFFER YOUR KID SOMETHING TO TRY WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY SAYING, “I DON’T THINK YOU’RE GOING TO LIKE THIS.” We all catch ourselves doing this occasionally, and realize, just after the words have escaped and it’s too late, Oops. Now what are the odds that your child will turn around and say, “No, Mom, you’re wrong; this 8-bean soup is fantastic!”

2.  Realize that your kids probably think they are going to hate most new things, and that it is your job to basically ignore that fact, and keep moving forward, like a shark. Otherwise in fifty years we are going to be looking at senior communities filled with people nibbling on chicken nuggets and debating the merits of honey-mustard vs. barbecue sauce, both of which will probably give them all heartburn.

3.  Start with small portions. This is mentioned a couple of times in the book, especially when it comes to things like fish or anything kids look at suspiciously. A big slab or bowl of something they are skeptical of may result in a stonewall, while a little two-bite experiment is much more likely to be acceptable.

4.  Keep a bit of a poker face. In other words, as hard as it is (and it is hard) don’t beg (except for fish, where begging is sometimes acceptable). If your kids know you really want them to like something, they may resist it more. This isn’t total control-freakism on their part, just a little.

5.  Employ peer pressure (the good kind). Make an effort to eat with other kids (often bigger kids) who have broader palates than your children do. Your picky eater may be willing to give something a shot in the name of being perceived as cool or more grown up. In summary, my children would probably not have ingested such large portions of Thai-flavored carrot coconut milk bisque at a friend’s house recently without three super cool, unflappable high schoolers at the table.

Excerpted from The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket. Copyright 2012 by Katie Workman. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York. All Rights Reserved.

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