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Tuesday Tip for Picky Eaters: Encourage samples

This week’s Tuesday Tip for Picky Eaters: Encourage samples.
Who doesn't love grocery store samples? The tiny bite-sized portions are so enticing you just have to try them out. They are a fun, no-pressure way for kids to taste a new food without committing to a big serving.

There are two ways to embrace samples with your kids. 
Henry tries out an apple slice at the grocery store.
Your first option is to take them grocery shopping with you and encourage them to try out new foods at the store. We visit during Henry's usual snack time so that sampling does not interfere with a meal. 

Luckily, we have two grocery stores nearby that offer samples of nutritious whole foods. The first reliably sets out samples of fresh seasonal produce, including slices of apples and oranges. The second always has a wide selection of cheese samples on offer, from aged Parmesan to soft goat cheese. If you don't see good options at your local supermarket, talk with the produce manager or even the checkout clerk to ask them about featuring samples of local, organic and seasonal foods.
Henry samples cheeses at the grocery store.
Your second option is to offer samples at home. Think of it like a tapas bar with small plates of several different foods. If the thought of cooking a bunch of little dishes seems overwhelming, start by setting out three easy no-cook options for your child's afternoon snack. Here are a few to try:
  • Offer a few crackers smeared with cream cheese or hummus and each topped with a different vegetable, maybe an olive, a cucumber slice, a cherry tomato, and a small piece of bell pepper. 
  • Serve small cubes of cheese and fruit skewered with tooth picks. Delicious combinations include cheddar/apple, parmesan/pear, feta/watermelon, goat cheese/strawberry, and blue cheese/papaya.
  • Plate a variety of finger sandwiches on white, wheat and rye breads. Some of my favorites are chicken salad with grapes, turkey with cranberry, vegetable cream cheese, and cucumber tea sandwiches.
Use salad plates or small bowls to serve the samples. Remember to keep it fun and don't worry if your child doesn't want to try everything.

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