- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Lamp says children learn to like new foods by exploring them, so parents shouldn’t be concerned if youngsters make a mess touching their food, playing with it and trying to put it in their mouths. These are all forms of learning.
“The child feels a natural sense of fear in trying new foods and for that reason it is important to permit them to become familiar with them from an early age,” Lamp said. “Some children need to see food more than 15 times before accepting it. Let children see you eating the food you are giving them and let them touch the food, but don’t force them to eat. If children reject a food on the first try, this doesn’t mean the food will never be part of their diets.”
Lamp suggests an educational reward system for expanding children’s diets. One system is creation of a “seed chart.” On a piece of paper or cardboard, glue the seeds from the fruit or vegetable each time your child tries a new food. If your children can write or color, ask them to draw the fruit or vegetable on the chart.
“The chart of new fruits and vegetables that your children have tried will help them feel proud of their accomplishments,” Lamp said. “In this way, you reward them for trying new foods. In addition, you will measure your progress in helping your child learn to enjoy a large variety of fruits and vegetables.”