My first day of school was a scary experience. I remember feeling anxious about riding the school bus and I didn't even want to step foot into my elementary school. When I finally worked up the courage to enter that foreign building, I instinctively clung to my older brother and followed him into his class. He shooed me away like I was some sort of gnat, pointed towards another class and said, "Those kids look about your height. Go join that class!" On the other hand, when I dropped Colin off at his new preschool, he cheerfully turned to me and said, "Goodbye! See you later!" It seems as if everyone is all too eager to get rid of me.
Like going to school for the first time, trying new foods can be a scary experience for kids. Kids may find new foods to be unfamiliar, intimidating, or scary looking. The important thing to realize is that just because your kid rejects a new food item on the first attempt, it doesn't mean you can't try again.
In fact, multiple studies show that repeated exposure to a particular food increases acceptance to that food amongst children an infants. For example, studies have found that infants eat significantly more of a particular pureed vegetable after repeated exposure over a period of eight or nine days. Additionally, the more variety you expose your kids to, the more familiar their palate will become to different tastes. This will further enhance their acceptance of new foods as kids are more accepting of novel flavors if they already have experience with flavor variety.
In the following Halloween video, I show you another tip you can use to make foods less scary for your kids. I suggest you mummies try this out on your little gremlins this Halloween for a howling good time! Incidentally, I don't find this video to be scary, but your kids might. Viewer discretion is advised.
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Here is the link to the recipe used in the above video:
Forestell CA & Mennella JA. Early Determinants of Fruit and Vegetable Acceptance. Pediatrics 2007 Dec;120(6):1247-1254.
Mennella JA et al. Variety is the spice of life: Strategies for promoting fruit and vegetable acceptance during infancy. Physiol Behav 2008 April 22;94(1):29-38.
Mennella JA & Trabulsi JC. Complementary Foods and Flavor Experiences: Setting the Foundation Ann Nutr Metab 2012;60(suppl 2):40-50.