Just taste it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.”  Seems like a perfectly reasonable thing for parents to say, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, this is a question that frequently backfires.

Kids won’t taste new foods because they are afraid they are going to have to eat those foods. To reasonable and, I should add, perfectly sane parents, this doesn’t make sense. I just told you that if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it! And if you do like it, won’t you want to eat it? Unfortunately, the answer may well be “no.” All hope is not lost, though. You just have to change the questions you ask.

I recently wrote a post about this on Psychology Today. I argue that for many children, the sheer hint of that they might have to eat something new —even if they like it—is enough to scare them away from even tasting it.

The expectation that kids will have to eat a new food interferes with their willingness to explore the new food. Then, the pattern of interaction—parents asking, begging, cajoling, and kids saying they don’t like stuff—reinforces a habit of rejection. Most kids will take a bite, but they aren’t really open to the experience. Then, every time the interaction occurs, the habit is reinforced even further.

Read the rest of the Psychology Today article here.

The answer is sensory education. And separating eating from exploring.

Change your goals. Instead of trying to get your kids to eat new foods, be satisfied with having them explore new foods. Yes. See simple exploration is success.

Remember, kids who won’t go near anything new are scared. They don’t feel like they have the same skills as everyone else. They lack confidence. Sensory exploration changes that. Sensory education changes the questions you need to ask. It also changes the outcomes.

The more kids know about new foods the more comfortable and confident they are around new foods. Below are 21 questions that work better than, “Do you like it?”

Feel free to download it. Hang it on the fridge. Pass it around to your friends.

Also, Read my Step-by-Step Blow-by-Blow Guide to Introducing New Foods.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~