Family and Consumer Sciences Education: Ways to Get Picky Eaters to Become More Adventurous Eaters

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   How can you avoid those mealtime battles? Try these fun tips to lay a foundation for stress-free, adventurous eating habits before the first bite.

   Tease Them with Mouthwatering Smells:

   Think about those smells that get you out of bed in the morning — brewing coffee or the aroma of breakfast cooking. Smell is a important and sometimes forgotten part of our eating experience. Playing games to positively engage with food smells outside of mealtimes can demystify novel foods. Use spice jars to guess scents. Or add orange, vanilla or other extracts to bubbles before blowing them outside. These non-eating activities can build happy associations with new smells before you use them in recipes.

   Release the Artist:

   Use food for fun art projects. For example, fruit stamps: halved strawberries make heart-shaped stamps, and halved apples are star-shaped.

   Flip the Script:

   Do you find yourself telling friends and family, “My child is a picky eater?” Train yourself to use positive language instead: “My child is learning to love new things.” Instead of He doesn’t like it,” say, “He hasn’t had it enough times.” Using positive statements helps validate your child’s feelings.

   Color:

   Chop brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as red cherry tomatoes, green kiwis and purple grapes into small pieces. With your child, sort them by color while saying the name of the color aloud. Focusing on the game rather than on their worry with new foods. This can promote your child’s acceptance of new textures.

   Name It:

   Which do you think your child would rather eat: steamed carrots or X-Ray Vision Coins? In the same way that descriptions on restaurant menus can influence what you order, creative names in the kitchen can catch a child’s interest.

   Spotlight:

   Many kids love being the star. So, put them in the spotlight and explore new foods. Take videos of your child tasting a new food and then telling their younger sibling or stuffed animals about the taste, flavor and texture of it.

   Get Everyone Out into the Garden:

   Studies demonstrate that a garden improves children’s knowledge of produce and increases their intake of fruits and vegetables. Make it a family activity throughout the year.