Training Children's Taste Buds

It is common today to hear parents say "My son is a picky eater" or "getting my kids to eat vegetables is so difficult." What most people don't realize is part of getting your kids to eat healthy is training their taste buds.  

Training their taste buds involves more than giving them exactly what they want every night for dinner. 
It is trying new foods, often times repeatedly along with their favorite foods. If all someone eats is sugary or processed foods that is what their taste buds will know and always crave.

It takes kids 5-6 times of seeing and tasting something new before kids will decide they like it. You can start making healthy choices by replacing foods with wholesome foods. Wholesome foods are all natural foods that your great grandparents ate. For example, not Twinkies and chips but applesauce, whole wheat bread and the types of food grown in a garden and on fruit trees.

Try introducing one new vegetable or fruit a day or once a week at least to your family. Allow kids to try a bite or two. We have a rule at our house that you are 3 so you need to take 3 bites. Usually when they are 8-9, they don't have to be told to take a certain amount of bites, they'll just do it. This doesn't have to be torturous but something fun. Have them rate the food on a rating scale or other way like thumbs up, thumbs down.

Even if your kids don't seem to be enjoying trying and tasting new foods. Don't give up. You can also include pureed vegetables in your cooking so they are getting the nutrition they need. However, also include vegetables on the side so they can get use to "seeing" their vegetables.

Little by little they will be training their taste buds to enjoy good healthy food. Try different recipes and combinations and get your kids in the kitchen helping. Kids can wash and scrub vegetables, peel and toss a salad together. Older kids that can use a knife properly can cut and prepare vegetables. Get kids involved, knowledgeable about good foods and enjoying meal time.

See more healthy eating tips.

Get your kids involved in Cooking Lessons