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Chris Winston is the founder and former president of the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network. Read her thoughts on adoptive families' relationships with their children's culture of origin. Read and Comment »
A national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, Sarah Krieger developed and is lead instructor for Fit4AllKids Weight Management and Fitness for Families program. Read more »
Sorry, Sarah Krieger, MPH, RD, LD is no longer taking questions.
"How do I get my child to eat fruits and veggies?" "Is it okay for my child to take a vitamin supplement and then eat anything he wants?" "My child only eats five foods: chicken fingers, fries, applesauce, cereal and milk." Do any of these questions and comments sound familiar? As a registered dietitian, I hear them on a weekly basis from parents. I am amazed how many "picky eaters" I encounter. I see it from infancy through adolescence. (Actually, I meet plenty of adults, too, who eat the same foods over and over again.) So what are parents to do when their kids are reluctant to try new foods?
Children learn their habits, attitudes and beliefs from their parents and other caregivers, and that includes their willingness to try new and healthy foods. For National Nutrition Month®, the American Dietetic Association encourages parents to be good role models and teach their children how to appreciate nutrition and enjoy healthful eating.
Here is what sometimes happens: A parent introduces applesauce to baby. Baby likes it and eats the entire serving. The next week the parent offers pears. Baby tastes it, spits it out and makes a face. The parent does not force it and thinks, "Okay, baby does not like it, so I won't offer it again." So baby is only eating the applesauce.
It is true that it often takes multiple tastes of a new food before a child accepts it -- of course some foods require more offerings than others, and some foods are never accepted. The most important thing you can do is offer your children as many new foods as possible, as early in life as possible. It takes much longer to accept new foods when you are older, as you may already know. I meet 10-year-old children who have never tried a fresh pear or red pepper. I am also discouraged by the statistic showing that the number one vegetable consumed by toddlers is the fried potato.
Let's commit to changing that statistic! These tips will get you started:
If you're looking for more fun ways to get your kids excited about trying new (and nutritious) foods, see what's cooking at Fizzy's Lunch Lab on PBS KIDS GO! There are lots of great ideas and activities to inspire kids to give new foods a try!
I'd love to hear from you. What are your tips and tricks for getting kids to try new foods?
Sorry, Sarah Krieger, MPH, RD, LD is no longer taking questions. Feel free to comment on the article and let us know what you think about the topic.