An option to introduce foods to a picky eater- Product Review

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As a child nutrition professional, I often get asked “How do you get kids to try new food?”

There are many different approaches to use when encouraging childrent to try new foods; the answer depends on the child. Some factors to take into consideration include the child’s current preferences, behavior at meals, and the child’s developmental level.

Most of the approaches that introduce new foods to kids involve some sort of sensory component. Many occupational and speech therapists encourage kids to use their senses when exploring new foods. This would include encouraging a child to look, touch, smell, hear, and taste the food. I have seen my own children accept new foods when using their senses to explore and I have seen clients I have worked with also respond to this. Children that are cautious or picky eaters seem to respond well to using their senses to explore food.

Children will often respond better to this as opposed to educating them on the all the nutrition benefits of foods. There was recently a small study published from Finland that showed children between the ages of 3-6 were more likely to try new foods when given sensory education about the food when compared to a control group that did not receive sensory based education.

Due to my own experience of witnessing children using their senses to try new food, reports from therapists, and research; I was intrigued by the Super Food Explorer Kit from Dina Rose and the Happy Bite Company.

The kit includes tongs, small cups, trays, pipettes, magnifying glass, activity cards, small pencils, and a list of descriptive words that can be used to describe foods when using your senses to investigate.

Noted features of the Super Food Explorer Kit:

·         The tongs-My kids seemed to like using these to pick up non-preferred foods for exploration.

·         The range of ideas- Within the activity booklet there are many ideas on how a child can explore food by using all senses.

·         Increased vocabulary list- The list of descriptive terms can help kids move past using the words “good” or “yuck” to describe food and can also help increase their vocabulary.

The design of the kit is not geared toward extremely young kids. If your child loves science, this kit would be appealing to them as it can make exploring new foods a science experiment. If a child has a sense that is impaired, like sight or sound, the use of the kit would need to be modified. Also, if your child is easily distracted at meals I would recommend using this kit at snack time and only using one of the tools at meal time.

Here is a link to purchase the Super Food Explorer Kit.

If you would like to read about the recent study regarding sensory based food education here is the link https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180530113110.htm

 One of the foods that my son explored was an apricot.

One of the foods that my son explored was an apricot.

 This is the activity card he filled out to describe his exploration of the apricot.

This is the activity card he filled out to describe his exploration of the apricot.

 

Disclosure: In exchange for the review of the Super Food Explorer Kit the author did receive the kit at no cost. The review is the opinion of the author.