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Today’s post is from Dr Orlena Kerek.  She is a pediatric doctor and mother of 4 young children.  She writes about helping children to eat healthy foods, without lots of stress or worry.   Take it away, Dr. Kerek… 

how to get kids to try new foods

It’s all about building healthy habits that last a lifetime.It can be really hard to get your kids to try new foods, let alone to help your kids love new food.

Its easy when your kids are eating healthy every day – more veggies, less cookies.  More fruit, less chips.  Its easy when meal times are quiet and peaceful… when you talk with your kids and your husband.  Then it happens- you give them something new to try.   What do they do?   Smile? Say thank you and give it a shot?  Or do they refuse to eat it?

Here are a few secrets to introducing new foods: 

  • Kids don’t like the unknown. If it’s unknown, it’s often rejected.
    In order for something to go from ‘unknown and rejected’ to ‘accepted’ your kids need to try it 10-15 times.  So that means, when you present them with something new, they ARE NOT going to like it for the first 14 times.
  • Putting pressure on children to eat something often has the opposite effect (and can lead to long term dislike of a food.)
  • The secret to introducing new food is to KNOW that they probably will not like it. That way you don’t get upset when they don’t. They may not even try it for the first few times.
  • Try, try again.  You gave it to them. They tried it and didn’t like it?  You need to do it another 14 times.  That’s every other day for a month. Seriously!  Some kids might get there quicker. Others might take longer, especially if they’ve had a negative experience or have sensory issues.
  • Once they have tasted it 15 times, you might find that they genuinely don’t like it, but at least that’s a genuine dislike rather than that “yuck, I don’t like it” before they’ve even seen it or tried it.

Don’t believe me? I’ve been putting the theory into practice with my 4 young children who do not ‘like’ mushrooms. We’ve been going through ‘mushroom training’. Gradually mushrooms are becoming less and less rejected.  (My 6 year old is in denial about the fact that he actually eats them. He thinks that his bowl of mushroom risotto ‘without any mushrooms in it’.  And he asked for seconds!) It does work. You just need to be patient.

Feeding your kids healthy food is totally do-able and it doesn’t have to be stressful or time consuming. You just need the road map! Remember, patience and persistence are the key to giving your children healthy eating habits so they can lead a long and healthy life.

If you’d like to know more about feeding your children a healthy diet,  I’d love to invite you to my next free webinar

Thank you,
Dr Orlena Kerek

eat veggies

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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