Pssst…want to know the secret to getting your kids to eat healthy foods?
No, it’s not hiding them in other foods, it’s not bribery and it’s not some phenomenal recipe that makes vegetables magically taste better. Boring as it may sound, it’s repetition. Practice makes (kinda, sorta, maybe-one-day) perfect.
Research consistently shows that it can take as many as 15 – 20 exposures before a child learns to accept a new food (or sometimes, re-accept an old favorite!) And while that sounds straightforward, as a parent I find it mentally exhausting! There’s so much planning involved – you have to make sure you have the foods on hand, that you work them into your meals regularly, that they don’t spoil before you have a chance to serve them, etc., etc., etc.
A bit naively, I thought my daughter was easily going to turn out to be a great eater when I first started her on solid foods. Even when she didn’t accept something right away, after two or three exposures, she generally came around. Little did I realize at the time that she was still in the “food acceptance window.” As kids approach age two and begin to develop their autonomy, their acceptance of new foods wanes.
So that’s how I found myself with a kid who adores broccoli but won’t touch Brussels sprouts. I tend to keep frozen broccoli around all the time, but I usually only buy Brussels sprouts when they’re in season, and their season didn’t happen to fall during her “window.”
Now, I’m making a more concerted effort to encourage her to accept new foods by keeping track of how often I give her certain items and only working on a few new foods at a time. And because of all the planning I found it to involve, I developed this chart to keep track of the foods we’re working on and it’s my pleasure to share it with you, too!
Get the FREE Food Exposures Chart here. I’ve also included my Top 7 Tips for Offering New Foods and a New Food Suggestion Checklist.
It’s my hope that these tools will help you think more clearly about exposing your child to new foods, thus making the whole process easier.
I hope you enjoy it. Please come back and let me know how the chart is working for you!