Have your kids ever mixed up one kind of food for another? Chances are they have.

  • “Pizza,” the little girl exclaimed.
  • “No, they’re waffles,” replied mom.

It’s tempting to think of this as just one more (cute) bump on the language-acquisition road. But I think of it as more. It’s valuable information.

Kids mix up foods that are similar. You can use this to your advantage.

Children are more open to new foods that resemble old favorites.

But you might also be (inadvertently) using this to your disadvantage.

Over-exposing your children to the same basic tastes and textures shapes their taste buds to expect those tastes and textures. It also shapes their expectations about which foods they ought to eat.

When you think about it through your child’s eyes, waffles and pizza are kind of alike. They’re both round, bready, crunchy and cut into triangle pieces.

For many families, deliberately rotating through different tastes and textures is the first step in introducing new foods.

You don’t need “new” to introduce “different.” But you do have to keep “different” going in order to lay the foundation for “new.”

For more on this topic, read The Variety Masquerade and Pizza. Pizza. Pizza.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~