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Cook Up Adventurous Eaters

Are you wondering when the best time is to open up your child's palate to all of the different and exciting flavors that food around the world has to offer? Or is your child stuck in a rut of cereal and hot dogs for the majority of her meals? There is help! With just a few simple tips, your child could become a fan of healthy and flavorful meals that you can all enjoy eating together!

So when do you begin? If you're a pregnant mother... now! Researchers have noted that babies who were exposed to certain tastes in utero via the amniotic fluid were more eager to eat foods with that same taste after birth. Want your baby to eat his or her broccoli later?  Eat yours now! While some of your child's taste buds are genetic, the majority of them are acquired over time. So how do you train your child's taste buds to love basil, cilantro, sauces, pastas, and different meats?

1.      Talk It Up- Are you having something a little different that she hasn't tried? Talk it up with sensory words that excited their sense of smell, taste, touch, and sight. Children tend to "eat with their eyes" so pay attention to how your meal is displayed for your child and even try to hide veggies and fruits in other dishes if you have to!

2.      Sit Down Meals- Most parents understand how important it is to have regular family meals together. Not only does it strengthen family unity but it gives your children a good routine and they tend to eat healthier. Don't be discouraged if you are a busy family, a 10 or 15 minute meal is much better than nothing at all!

3.      Fruits and Veggies First!- A good technique to try is to lay out the fruits and vegetables that you are planning on having with your meal before you serve the other dishes. When children are hungry they tend to be less picky! Then you can lay out the filler items like starches and meats. This creates a good habit of filling up on healthy items first.

4.      Spice Up the Dish- For some reason we all think that children need bland foods. They are perfectly capable of eating the very same foods we do with all the flavors and spices! If you start your child out on bland foods it will be difficult to quench that habit. So try and start creating an adventurous palate early!

5.      Don't Give Up- Your child might not respond well to your first few attempts of introducing them to new foods. Research has found that it can take up to 15 separate introductions of a certain food before it will be accepted by some children. Keep reintroducing the food to your child and she will eventually warm up to it!