Friday, January 16, 2015

Put Ketchup on Everything! Using Sauces and Flavors to Help Your Kid Like Healthy Foods

By Julia Moravcsik, PhD, author of Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food

Mexicans love spicy tomato sauces. Americans love ketchup. Indians love curries. Almost every culture has a flavorful sauce that gets heaped on the family dinner.

Scientists think that one reason cultures have characteristic spices, flavors, and sauces is to help children quickly learn to like new foods. A Mexican preschooler who can dump his zucchini in an enchilada sauce will like it better because it has the comforting familiar taste that he has grown used to.

You can use this principle to help your picky eater learn to like new foods, or to help your toddler enjoy the taste of a new vegetable.

1) Use a sauce that your child likes. It may be ketchup, cheese sauce, alfredo sauce, pesto, spaghetti sauce, or any other sauce that your child likes. If your child doesn't like any sauces, think of spices or herbs that he likes. He may like the taste of cinnamon, garlic, or pepper.

2) If your child doesn't like any sauces, let him try new ones until you find one that he likes. If you can't think of a sauce that your child likes, start introducing him to a variety of sauces and flavors. Once you find one that he likes, you can use it to help introduce new foods.

3) Let him glop it on. Give your child a bowl or bottle of his favorite sauce each time you want to introduce a new food, or when you want to encourage him to eat a healthy food that he has been reluctant to eat. Experiment with putting the sauce on the food yourself or letting him take the lead. Some children would rather not see the unadorned food at all and others will want to have control in flavoring a new food.

4) After a while, give him the food without the sauce. Once your child has learned to associate the new food with the taste of the sauce, he will like it better. You can continue to give him the food with the sauce, or slowly switch to giving it to him without the sauce.

Once you start using this method, you will find that it is easier and easier to get your child to eat a wide variety of healthy foods.

Would you like a simple, easy-to-follow program that will teach your child to love healthy food? See my new book Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food on

Here are more strategies to help your child like the taste of new foods.

Find Basic Recipes That Your Child Loves and Add New Vegetables

Kids Like Food That Looks Good

How To Reward Kids For Eating Their Vegetables

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