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How to Work with Kid’s Taste Buds

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Kids taste preferences can vary from their parents.  Offer them foods you may not like, try not to bring in your own food preferences or food prejudices. Taste buds change, you may not have liked olives in your 20’s but enjoy them in your 30’s. So re-taste foods along with your children. We’ve heard kids may have to try foods more than a dozen times to accept them. So taste along with them –you may be surprised.

I’ve seen young children love foods outside their cultural food exposure, to name a few: sliced radishes, olives, beets, purple potatoes, raw purple onions, dark chocolate over milk chocolate, collard greens, roasted garlic, sushi and pickled ginger.

Be sure to try foods prepared in different ways. I haven’t had much success with sweet potatoes or homemade sweet potato baked fries with my family even though I just love sweet potatoes! So I recently shredded sweet potatoes raw in the food processor and then baked them in the microwave. They were a hit! If your family goes heavy on the ketchup, try mixing tomato sauce in with the ketchup to cut down on the sugar and salt. Start gradually.

What foods have surprised you most that your child, extended family or friend’s kids have enjoyed?

Please comment! I look forward to sharing some good responses.

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2 Responses to “ How to Work with Kid’s Taste Buds ”

  1. Jana on March 31st, 2010 3:17 pm

    I always hated tomatoes growing up and now I can’t get enough… The same thing happened to my Grandma Natalie in her 80s! I never really thought about applying this openmindedness/ change in taste to children. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Alicia Romano on April 1st, 2010 6:12 am

    I can definitely attest to this! I do not have any children of my own, but I would love to share the growth of my own taste buds.

    I grew up in an Italian family- with lots of traditional food, including the infamous “feast of the seven fishes” on Christmas Eve. Now my mother goes all out when it comes to this meal- we’re talking 4 courses including everything from clams on the half shell and sautéed smelts (little fish, in their full form…tails and all), 5 different fish salads including squid (and not the fried type) and snails, a pasta course with a 5 fish/shell fish sauce, stuffed shrimp, etc etc. I was very fortunate to have a mother who was adamant about developing our taste buds to some of the exotic cuisines of the Italian culture, especially this meal that was so rich with tradition.

    My most vivid memory of this feast was when the fish salads would come out. I actually never had a problem acquiring a taste to any of them, except for the squid tentacles in the squid salad. I would sit next to my grandfather (Poppie) and every year after being served, I would say “Poppie would you eat the legs?” My mom would always jump in at that point and say “you have to try them first.” And I would always go for it (sometimes plug my nose hoping to mask the taste), make a HORRIBLE face while chewing, and then end up giving the rest of my “legs” to Poppie (he didn’t mind).

    Flash forward to now (my 20’s) and I can’t get enough of the squid “legs”- in fact, they are probably my favorite part of the squid salad! Go figure. It just goes to show that kids can acquire taste to even the most exotic foods and over time your tastes will change. Don’t get discouraged, just get your kids in a habit of TRYING before they say they don’t like it. Try preparing certain foods a different way each time and see how which preparation works best for their tastes. You never know when their taste buds will wake up and become great friends with that new food 🙂

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