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Tuesday Picky Eater Tip- Take Advantage of Positive Peer Pressure

27 December 2011

Peer pressure gets a bad rap, but, the truth is, that kids are influenced by peers that they trust. When it comes to good eating, you can use this to your advantage.

My youngest son and my niece are three months apart in age. When my niece was first starting to eat, my sister tried feeding her many of the foods that she knew I was feeding my son.

One of my favorite foods for babies (and older kids too!) is avocado.  Knowing this, my sister tried multiple times to introduce my niece to avocado, but it seemed that she just wasn't interested.

One day, my mom was feeding both my niece and my son. She had them in Bumbos side-by-side. The two of them were enjoying the social interaction of being fed together. My mom gave some avocado to my son who happily started devouring it. She then gave it to my niece, who, for the first time, ate it as well!

During the week between Christmas and New Year's, you may have opportunities to share meals or snacks with family members and friends. Use these get-togethers as opportunities to introduce your children to some new foods.

This can be done in either subtle or overt ways:

Find out if there is something that your child's friends or cousins will eat that your children won't. Serve the food to their children and yours without comment... see what happens.

Ask friends or cousins to encourage or talk up new foods to your child. Sometimes kids will listen to your peers better than they will listen to you- My son's preschool class had a fruit testing day. He mentioned that several of the kids didn't want to try plums. He encourage them to try them and told them that they tasted, "like apples." He reported that they not only tried them, but liked them.

Plan a taste testing party. Invite several friends to your house and ask them to each bring sample sizes of a healthy food that they enjoy. Set up a buffet or give each child a testing tray. Make a booklet, placemat, or recording card or sheet on which students can rate the foods they try.

If your kids try and like something new, keep introducing them to this food over the next few days and weeks. Remind them how much they liked it when they were with their friends.

Don't get discouraged if your kids won't try the foods. Keep it light, keep it fun, but keep encouraging them!

Have you ever noticed that your kids ate something when with their peers that they wouldn't eat for you?

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  1. Julie, I've been away since Christmas and am just catching up, but I wanted to tell you I LOVE the taste testing party. I'm actually thinking about starting a little cooking group to get some of my children's friends more excited about healthy food. Thanks for the great idea!

  2. Thanks Abby! Please share with me when you do it!! In fact, if you'd like to guest post that would be great... otherwise, if you post about it on your blog, let me know and I'll link to it!!


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