Wish your toddler would move beyond chicken nuggets—at least occasionally?

The Problem: Most children, especially toddlers, want to eat only the familiar. Familiar=comfort. It’s not easy to turn comfort eaters into adventurous eaters if you focus on the eating.

Here’s a secret:  Shift the focus to teaching your toddler to be a good taster instead of getting her to eat something today and everything changes.

“Just taste it, and if you don’t like it!” is NOT a way to encourage tasting. This statement implies eating. Everyone says it, it’s a short-term strategy that gets food into the mouth but it doesn’t change your toddler’s fundamental orientation to new food. Eating=pressure.

Even when kids like what they taste, they often don’t want to eat it.

At least not at that moment!

So here’s what you do: Tell your toddler that he doesn’t need to eat anything new.  Instead, you simply want him to taste and rate. That’s what a food critic does!

Taste and Rate works by changing the dynamic around new foods in 3 key ways:

  1. Tasting is a less daunting task than eating.
  2. Rating bypasses, “I don’t like it” so food isn’t automatically rejected. 
  3. It gets your child in the habit of trying new foods.

Step 1: Pick a new food that you would like your child to try. 

If your child is extremely picky, choose items that are different versions of foods she already eats – different kinds of cheese, or different flavors of yogurt. Stack the deck in your favor by choosing foods you would expect your child to like.  As she gets better at tasting new foods you can branch out to include more “exotic” flavors such as a sweet red pepper.  (Don’t think your kid will ever touch peppers?  Read Turning Your Kids’ Taste Buds Around.)

Step 2: Ask your child to taste and rate the food. 

Ask your child to consider five aspects of the food:

  1. taste
  2. texture
  3. appearance
  4. aroma
  5. temperature

Step 3: Have your child rate the food. Keep a log of your child’s ratings, if you’d like.  

Read Two Hundred Tantalizing Terms to Move Beyond, “I don’t like it.”

Read Nix the Negativity.

Shoot for tasting/rating the same food multiple times.

In other words, Rinse and Repeat. You don’t have to keep track, though. Make it easy. Make it fun.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~