Whether it’s broccoli and Brussels sprouts or a healthy main course your child has refused to taste, most parents have experienced the concern and frustration that comes along with a child’s picky eating.
New research validates one tactic parents use to get kids to try new foods.
Developmental psychologist Jasmine DeJesus says it’s important to offer different options, but also immerse your kids in the process.
Researchers had 64 kids ages 5 to 7 make their own salad or dessert.
The researchers then offered them a choice between the foods they made or a similar item.
“If they made the salad, they ate more of the salad that they personally made as opposed to a different salad,” DeJesus says.
This suggests preparing the food can influence what a child eats.
She suggests making meals that kids can assemble.
Think tacos, where children choose their protein. Then sprinkle cheese, lettuce and vegetables.
Or salad with lots of toppings.
DeJesus says start small. Have your child put dressing on lettuce so he’ll feel invested. And remember, budget extra time for prep.
Researchers also found that kids in the study who made their own desserts also ate more of their own desserts, researchers suggest parents make sweets with their children, sparingly.
Also, the study involved children starting at the age of 5.
Additional research is needed to see if younger children would benefit from hands-on food prep.