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Tuesday Tip for Picky Eaters: Try the taste test rule

This week’s Tuesday Tip for Picky Eaters: Try the taste test rule.
As I wrote about last week, we let Henry decide how much to eat. If he is done with a meal, then we do not pressure him to continue eating. We do, however, encourage Henry to taste each part of the meal. I have found that offering foods to him on my fork sparks his interest in at least a bite or two, and presenting him with a food via chopsticks is even more intriguing.
Henry examines a spoon after trying out yogurt.
As Henry gets older, we are planning to implement a taste test rule. Basically, Henry should try everything on his plate at least once without complaining. I have heard of several variations on this rule. Some households ask that children sample at least one or two bites, while others increase the number of bites to match a child’s age. For example, a five year old should try five bites of each dish.

Requiring kids to join the clean plate club can backfire, so don’t worry about whether your child is finishing everything on their plate. Children, however, do need to taste what is on their plate to help develop their palette and overcome a fear of new foods.
Kids need to taste new foods repeatedly before they learn to like them.
I am not advocating that you leave your child at the table for hours if they stubbornly refuse to try a bite. Don’t force a child to eat or get angry if they reject a food. Stay calm, be respectful and keep the mood fun. Be sure that you set a good example and follow the rule as well. It also is reasonable that if the meal is over and they haven’t taken a sample of everything on their plate, then an afternoon treat or post-dinner dessert is off the menu.


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