Did you know a child (or even an adult) needs to be exposed to new foods up to 15 times before it is trusted, and a further 10-15 times before it is liked? But parents often give up after five attempts! (1,2)
The number of food exposures needed tends to increase with age e.g. a 2yr old may need 5-10 food exposures, while >four-year olds may need 10-15 food exposures.
So if you are still struggling to get your child to eat their veggies, or anything at all, keep offering them. Chances are you have not offered the food 15 times!
Even if the food is not actually on the child’s plate, exposure can include mum and dad eating the food in front of the child while all sharing meal together; the foods on the table in serving bowls so that the child can ‘choose’ them if they want to. Or the foods could be on a ‘trying’ plate next to the child’s own plate.
This is advice I will try to remember when I am contemplating uneaten broccoli for what feels like the 100th time!
- Howard et al, Appetite 59, (2012), 818-825. NOURISH RCT.
- Mitchell G, Farrow C, Haycraft E , Meyer C. Parental influences on children’s eating behavior and characteristics of successful parent focused interventions. Appetite, 60, 2013, 85-94.