If you’ve had The Conversation and taken a vacation, you should be well on your way to establishing the trust and sense of “we’re in this together” that was the goal of Phase 1: Team Building.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about…This is the second week in my series The Step-by-Step, Blow-by-Blow Guide to Introducing New Foods that’s Guaranteed to Change How Your Kids Eat. If you are new to this series, start here.

Growing a Good Taster means your only goal right now is teaching your children how to be confident tasters.

Never ask your children to eat anything they have just tasted. Trust that your children will ask to eat something if they want to eat it.

Think of this as a science experiment. Your goal is to teach your kids how to explore new foods using their senses so they feel comfortable approaching new foods. This is about TRUST, not about the food.

  • Use a pea-sized sample of food.
  • Ask your children to describe some aspect of the food.
  • Some children will tentatively taste a tiny taste. Other children need to touch or smell the food first. And some other kids, need to work on looking at different foods.

Remember, your kids are wary, skeptical and ready to run for the hills at the first sight of danger. So, make this easy for your children.

Ways to make it easy:

  • Explore foods your kids already like to eat.
  • Explore variations of foods your kids already like to eat.
  • Mix up the times when you are focusing on sight with times you are working on exploring with touch, etc.
  • Let your children have fun by playing with their food. Roll peas, squish melon. You get my point.
  • Let your children taste the same new food multiple times. They’ll think they are getting away with something (or tricking you) but you’ll know that this is how your children will get to the magic number of tastes that it takes before kids accept a new food.

Answers to common questions

  1. How often do we have to do tastings? It doesn’t matter but try to do this regularly. I recommend once a day.
  2. Does this have to happen at the same time each day? No. Take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
  3. What happens if my kids refuse to play along? It means you are asking them to do something that is too tough. Say OK, and then tomorrow, dial things back. Instead of asking for a taste, ask for a smell, a touch or, if need be, a look.
  4. How will tasting different flavors of ice cream help my children learn to eat vegetables? Once your children are comfortable tasting any kind of food they’ll be more willing to taste vegetables. When they do, it will be a “real” taste. Not the kind of taste they do just to keep you off their backs!

Forget about “LIKE.”

All too often, the Like/Dislike dichotomy puts new foods in the dislike box. Once there, it is hard to move the new food out. Avoid the box and ask your children to describe the food. If they say “yuk” or that they don’t like something, ask them why.

Get a list of descriptive words here.

Got questions? Ask. See you tomorrow.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Read the next installment in the series here.