My children only seem to want to eat peanut butter sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. They turn up their noses at anything new. How can I get them to try new foods?
Try offering new foods when children are hungry. A little theatrics never hurts either: “oh, this food is so delicious, want to try some?” Reactions from family members and peers will influence a child’s acceptance. Have a rule at the table: no loud objections! If you don’t like the way something tastes, leave it on your plate, but don’t make others feel uncomfortable if they enjoy the food.
It may take more than 7 exposures to new foods before a child will accept them, so don’t give up. If new foods are served often, they become more familiar and children will be more likely to try them. Encourage - but do not insist - that children try new foods. Involving children in food preparation will also help ensure that they will taste and even enjoy the foods they help prepare.
Review Making Mealtime Pleasant with Young Children for more information.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.,
Nutritional Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri
Last update: Friday, February 06, 2009