Trial by Variety: How Exposing Kids to a Variety of Fruits / Veggies Helps
Lacrosse, flag football, soccer, basketball, swimming team, tennis, football, cross country, baseball, wrestling, piano, guitar, banjo, inline hockey, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts! Yep, I think that sums up all the various activities our 2 boys have tried over the years! Kind of a crazy list when you write it all out but our thought is to expose them to a lot to let them determine what they love. How will they know unless they try it? Once we commit, we're in for the season (except soccer when we were crazy and signed them up at 4 years old. That was painful to just keep them on the field)!
That's my thought with food too. How will my kids know if they like it unless they try it? We do a one bite try. And by one bite, I mean one bite meaning if they try one, I don't try to encourage them to eat another bite then another. If our child tries one bite and does not want anymore, that's fine. We've held true to our word over the years so our kids will try at least one bite. If the one bite try does not match the temperament of your child and will cause a crazy food fight to just try one bite, simply offer it to your child and if they decline, that's fine but keep offering it at other meals without pressure. It may take 10+ exposures to a new food for a child to come around to trying it. Some foods will stick, others will not! I don't like every fruit or vegetable and I don't expect my kids will either. We keep providing a variety over the years to help our kids develop the foods they love and which foods fall into the "it's not my favorite" (my kids polite way of saying they don't like it!) category.
Just like a favored plush animal or an adored blanket brings comfort to kids in new situations, seeing tried and true favorite foods on the table along with some newbies helps comfort kids. So pair a new fruit or vegetable with foods you know your child enjoys.
Keep exposing them because variety is the spice of life!