Introducing New Foods to Kids

Pizza, macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers: these are all staples of a typical kid's meal plan. But what if they had a proclivity towards sushi? Or spicy curry? It can happen! If you feed it to them at an early age or even while breastfeeding, they can develop a taste for the more exotic foods. Here are some pointers from a recent Boston Globe article, "Little People, Big Palates" on how not to raise a picky eater:

* Keep the textures manageable for toddlers (nothing too ooey-gooey as that might deter them) and be sure they have no food allergies. Your kid could be eating Chinese steamed pork buns in no time!

* It's a good idea to offer a range of different flavors anywhere from spicy garlic to intense vanilla. That way kids can be exposed to a variety of different foods and even if they don't like it at first, later on they'll remember at least trying it.

* Try introducing new and exotic foods in conjunction with the ones they're familiar with. For example, try serving an Artichoke Spinach dip along with their favorite salsa to see if they like it. You never know, they might like the new recipes more!

* Another key aspect is to introduce unfamiliar recipes during low stimulation times. Don't serve new foods while your kids are at a party or when they're watching TV since they'll have too much opportunity for distraction. Plus, people are more apt to try something new when they feel under-stimulated.

* Lastly, get your kid in the kitchen! Cooking together is a great way to get them interested and knowledgeable in new foods. It's also a great way to bond with them, which can only solidify their desire for exotic treats.

What new and exotic foods have you given your kids? Which ones would you love for them to try?