1. Sending Children Out of the Kitchen
It is understandable that parents don’t want children close to hot stoves, boiling water and sharp knives. But studies suggest that involving children in meal preparation is an important first step in getting them to try new foods.
2. Pressuring Them to Take a Bite
Demanding that a child eat at least one bite of everything is likely to backfire. Studies show that children react negatively when parents pressure them to eat foods, even if the pressure offers a reward.
3. Keeping “Good Stuff” Out of Reach
Parents worry that children will binge on treats, so they often put them out of sight or on a high shelf. But a large body of research shows that if a parent restricts a food, children just want it more.
4. Dieting in Front of Your Children
Kids are tuned into their parents’ eating preferences and are far more likely to try foods if they see their mother or father eating them. Parents who are trying to lose weight should be aware of how their dieting habits can influence a child’s perceptions about food and healthful eating.
5. Serving Boring Vegetables
Calorie-counting parents often serve plain steamed vegetables, so it’s no wonder children are reluctant to eat them. Nutritionists say parents shouldn’t be afraid to dress up the vegetables.
6. Giving Up Too Soon
Eating preferences often change. Parents should keep preparing a variety of healthful foods and putting them on the table, even if a child refuses to take a bite. In young children, it may take 10 or more attempts over several months to introduce a food.
New York Times September 14, 2008