I heard myself saying tonight at the dinner table, “Drew, eat your fish, then you can have more salad.” You see, our three-year-old loves salad. Of course, he hasn’t always loved salad. Initially, he wouldn’t eat it – any of it. This conversation reminded me of a headline from our local paper’s FOOD section recently. “CHILDREN: Tastes develop before kids are 5”. That pretty much says it all. It is so important to start making good choices while your kids are young to develop their tastes for whole foods. I’m not saying this is easy, but it’s a whole lot easier than changing the habits of a picky teenager.
I’ve found the only way for kids to learn to enjoy the tastes of REAL food is to be exposed to it – repeatedly. No doubt there will be much complaining at first. I remember the first time I introduced jicima to my boys. They thought it was weird and didn’t want to have anything to do with it. The key is to not give up. I’ve read that it often takes 10 -12 tries of something before your taste buds will adjust. So I continued putting jicima on their plates and over time, they both have grown to love it. Now it is one of their favorite snacks. This story rings true for just about every fruit and vegetable we eat.
If you have children at home, don’t give in to their tastes. Their tastes are developing, and YOU are in control! You develop their tastes through what you buy at the grocery store to what you serve for meals and what you make available for snacks. I can guarantee that you will never regret feeding your children a wholesome diet.