Tip 1: Don’t limit your child to just the kids’ menu at restaurants.
Courtney Barr, mommy to 6-month-old Emileigh and nearly 3-year-old Everleigh adheres to this idea.
“I truly believe that not letting Everleigh order from the kids’ menu every time, exposing her fairly early to foods beyond traditional baby options, and just sharing what we’re eating no matter the selection, is helping her develop a wide love of good food.”
So, if you don’t want your child to have a palate based on chicken tenders and grilled cheese, consider giving them something beyond those options.
Tip 2: Offer a variety of textures and flavors at home.
Did you know that research indicates that it takes at least seven exposures to the same food before a child finally determines if they like it?
Liz Kindred, mommy to 15-month-old Olivia, says giving her toddler frequent exposure to new foods at home has helped her daughter become an adventurous eater.
“We’ve given her hummus, avocados, and a lot of different vegetables. Of course, there’s some things she’s not crazy about, but we definitely have a lot of winners,” said Kindred.
Tip 3: Model good food behaviors as a parent.
If little Susie or little Johnny see mom or dad scowl at broccoli, you’d better believe they’re not going to be too keen on trying it themselves.
Chassidy Johnston, mom of 5-year-old Jett, says that she and her husband, Jake, are intentional with modeling food behaviors that they want their son to have.
“The biggest impact is him seeing mom and dad eat the same things we’re encouraging him to eat. We also like sharing knowledge about the health benefits of that particular food too,” said Johnston.
Tip 4: Get your kids involved in the kitchen.
When children play a role in helping make dinner, they’re more likely to want to try what they helped make.
Kandice Everette, mom to 14-year-old Kaelynn, says that cooking with her daughter has really expanded her palette.
“We love watching cooking shows together and then playing around with the recipes we’ve seen… we’ve really enjoyed the amount of ‘kid’ cooking competitions that are out there,” said Everette.
Sheena Gregg is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino Foodie.” Follow her adventures at afilipinofoodie.com.