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Exposing Children to New Foods

3/4/2019 | Alyssa Bosse, RDN, LD

Children are being exposed to new environments, new people, and even new food on a regular basis. Parents can support their child’s exposure by trying out some of our helpful tips.


Tip #1 - Explore all of their senses!

  • You can ask them engaging questions like "what does the smell remind you of?" or "does it feel hard, soft, thick, or thin in between your fingers?"
  • This will help talk about food in all ways – not just the taste.
  • Another example would be to take fresh asparagus and snap it in half, or pull the stems off of green beans, or compare raw carrots to cooked carrots.
  • Children are all about fun and learn through playing. Include play with food to keep a positive atmosphere around eating.


Tip #2 - Offer in small portions as to not overwhelm your child.

  • As your starting point, think of 1 single kidney bean, or 1 blueberry, or 1 teaspoon of almond butter.
  • Parents can even try letting children serve themselves by adding a portion on their own plate.


Tip #3 - Think of all the foods your child may haven’t even tried yet. 

Remember, the key is to get as many colors and varieties of foods while your children are young so their taste buds can get acclimated. 

Here are some of the more uncommon ones: 

  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Kiwi
  • Pomegranate
  • Papaya
  • Eggplant
  • Kohlrabi
  • Radishes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Turnips
  • Beets
  • Artichokes


Tip #4 - Don’t be forceful or use high pressure tactics to get your child to try new foods.

  • This may lead to more anxiety around eating and become a counterproductive method.
  • Instead, put it on their plate and allow your child to explore and take a bite out of their own curiosity.
  • A parent’s responsibility is to provide what is offered, and it is a child’s responsibility to decide to eat or leave it.
  • It may take multiple offerings before they try it or even like it. Don’t give up!

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