Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Healthy
and Try New Food

1. One Step at a Time - Offer just one new food at a time. Let the child know in advance if it is sweet, salty or sour...
2. A taste is just a taste - Let your child decide the amount to try.
A taste can be as small as 1/2 teaspoon.
3. What goes in may come out, and that's okay! - Recent studies indicate young children are more likely to try a new food if they have the option of not swallowing it. Show children how to carefully spit food into a napkin if they decide they don't want to swallow it.
4. If at first you don't succeed, try again. - Many young children must be offered a food 8 to 10 times before they will try it, according to recent research. Continue to offer a new food... don't give up. Eventually they are likely to give it a try.
5. Be a role model. - Imitation is a powerful force in learning. If you want children to drink milk, for example, make sure they see you drinking milk as well.
6. Capitalize on "food tasting peers". - To encourage a reluctant taster, have him or her sit with friends or siblings that are good tasters when you introduce a new food.
7. Serve an unfamiliar food with familiar ones. - It increases the likelihood that a child will taste the new food. For example, use pudding as a dip for trying pineapple spears of kiwi slices.
8. Color and texture make a difference. - Children prefer bright colors and interesting textures. Crunchy fruits and smooth pudding make a nice contrast. The bright color of red and yellow bell peppers may entice them to taste.
9. Involve children in the preparation. - Children are more likely to try a food they have helped to prepare.
Even young children can help stir, mash, pour and measure.
10. You can lead them to a new food, but you can't make them eat. - Never force a child to try a food. Offer it. If it is not eaten, simply take the food away and present it again at a different time.
11. Present the pyramid. - Offer new foods from all five groups of the Food Guide Pyramid. Include
1) Milk, cheese and yogurt,
2) meat, poultry, fish, beans and eggs,
3) Fruits,
4) Vegetables,
5) Bread, Cereal, and pasta.
All food groups are important for good health.
12. Lessons from literature. - Read stories about food to your children. They may be more likely to try a food that has been introduced in a story.

Make Food Fun
· Have a Theme Dinner- Eat only foods that start with the letter “P” (pineapple, pizza, peanuts…) or focus dinner on colors, shapes, textures.
· Use dips and Toothpicks- yogurt makes a great dip for fruit and a grape stuck on a toothpick dipped in yogurt equals FUN!

Present Foods in Different Ways
· baby carrots or whole “bunny rabbit” carrot
· slice of bread or bread ball
· Cut Food in Different Ways- strips, chunks, circles, squares, triangles, hexagons…or use a cookie cutter
o Bologna Faces!!!!
· Veggies raw, cooked or frozen (frozen peas are great!)
· Tons of fun shaped pastas, don’t just stick to plain spaghetti or macaroni noodles

Offer Choices
· Do you want carrots or peas for lunch?
· Do you want me to cut it, tear it, or leave it whole?
· Do you want to dip it in ketchup, ranch, bbq sauce?

“Try It Tuesday’s”
Offer new foods or foods that child wouldn’t try in the past. After they take two bites the children get to vote (thumbs up or thumbs down) if they like it or not. They cannot vote if they don’t try it. But it is okay if child does not want to try it. Serve same vegetable in different ways (raw, cooked, frozen). Serve plain cooked pastas in different shapes and colors to see if they taste the same.

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