Want a magic pill to get your kids to try new foods?
Here it is… YOGURT! Yes, you can teach your children to eat new foods using only yogurt.
I’ve written about yogurt before, about how great plain yogurt is (and how bad sweetened yogurt is) for teaching kids to eat right — Read Yogurt vs. Coke, But Plain Yogurt is Gross, Yogurt on the Brain.
Even still, I never realized before how many things you can do with plain yogurt, and as a result, what a boon it is for parents: you can use the same old food your children already love and eat to expand their repertoire, just by switching things up.
Last night I made a version of the Rhubarb Mango Yogurt (#51), only I used frozen blueberries instead of the mango. Everyone loved it.
But the recipe I can’t wait to try is the Banana Coconut Pie Yogurt (#65).
Look at it. Doesn’t it look yummy? It’s made with mashed banana, coconut extract, shredded coconut and plain yogurt. Brilliant!
The imagination, the creativity and the variety on this list are amazing. Reading through the recipes, it hit me: You could teach your kids to eat new foods using only yogurt.
Here’s how it would work:
1) Start with the recipe that you’re sure will be a winner.
Look over the list with your child and pick the recipe that looks the best. Not the healthiest. Not the most creative. The best.
Consider the Banana Toffee Yogurt (#61). Or the Smore Yogurt (#79) pictured here. It’s made with graham crackers, chocolate sauce, marshmallows and plain yogurt.
2) Next, move onto a yogurt that might be a little more challenging, but stay in the Love Domain.
Consider the Cinnamon Toast Yogurt (#73), the Jamtacular Yogurt (#77) or the Banana Nut Butter Honey Yogurt (#12).
By now, your child will probably be thinking that this new food thing is alright!
3) Then, as people of my generation used to say, “Keep on Truckin’.”
- Nutty Yogurt (#69)
- Yogurt Salad (#46), made with cucumbers. (Pictured here.)
- Garbanzo Bean Yogurt (#49)
- Avocado Yogurt with Fresh Mango (#39)
One day you might even find yourself trying out #50! (If you do, let me know how it goes.)
Why this strategy will work:
1) It will get two ideas into your child’s head. The first is that plain yogurt is a good food. The second is that new foods aren’t always bad, boring and healthy. Training the brain is just as important as training the taste buds. Read Mind Over Matter.
2) The familiarity of keeping one dimension of the dish constant – the yogurt – helps reluctant children feel comfortable trying new foods because it helps them know what to expect. Read Look Into My Crystal Ball.
3) Alternating what goes into the yogurt doesn’t just alter the taste, it alters the texture, the aroma, the appearance and even the temperature. Mixing up these sensual properties is a huge part of learning to eat new foods. Read For Extreme Fruit and Vegetable Avoiders….
Half the battle of getting kids to eat new foods is teaching them that “new” can be fun, exciting, and, yes, tasty.
I’ve contributed some recipes to the list, but that’s not why I’m so enthusiastic about Cindy’s project. I love it because it offers 101 ways to accomplish one of the most important components of learning to eat right… trying new foods.
But you don’t have to stick with just the yogurt. Here’s another way to introduce new: try some of Cindy’s interesting presentation methods: The fish bowl (#30), the parfait glass (#61), and the bear bowl (#68). Read Make “New” Work for You.
Get your kids in the new groove and before you know it, they’ll start complaining when you go back to the old standards. Now that’s a problem to behold.
~ Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits. ~