If I had to choose one tip to help with fussy eating, it would be about tasting. For kids to learn to like to foods, they need to taste it. Many, many times, and often many different ways.

We all acquire taste preferences through repeated exposure. Put simply, the more we taste a food, the more we get used it, and the more we like it. It’s how it works for kids, and how it works for adults too.

The more kids taste new foods, the less fussy they will become.

Here are 3 tips to encourage tasting:

Step 1: Serve a small portion with everything on the plate

Instead of serving a big portion of your child’s favourite food, hold off a little. If you want your child to try the broccoli, don’t pile up the mash potato too high!

Kids are always more motivated to try new foods when they are hungry. If there is enough mash potato and sausage to fill them up, they won’t fancy the broccoli.

Step 2: Encourage tasting

Say to your child “Try everything on the plate, eat what you like, and you can have more of what you like if you’re still hungry”.

Make it a rule, so that there are no surprises. Let your child decide how they want to taste it. Maybe it will be a little lick. Maybe a small bite. Don’t demand that they eat a certain amount. Every little taste counts.

It doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t like the taste of a new food. Don’t worry if they don’t like it this time. All that matters is that they have a small taste.

They don’t have to like it.

They don’t have to swallow it.

They don’t have to eat more of it.

Remember, it’s less about eating, and more about tasting. Tell them “You only have to taste it; you don’t have to like it, and you don’t have to eat it”.

Step 3: Offer seconds

Let your child come back for seconds of their favourite food. Praise them for trying everything, and move on. If they didn’t like something, you can say “It’s OK, you might like it next time”.

Your child will become better and better at tasting new foods. If they were previously anxious about new foods, they will discover over time that trying new foods isn’t that scary or terrible after all.

Variety is key, so keep introducing new foods! If your child tastes a wide variety of foods, they will eventually learn to enjoy a wide variety of foods.

How do you encourage tasting new foods at your house? Please share in the comments below.

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  • yep and give it time and try again. persistence is great but steadily.


  • I have a no pressure approach. Put lots of different things in front of them and let hem explore


  • We insist they try something before saying they don’t like it – but just a taste is ok.


  • We don’t make a big deal about food in our house. You get what you get on your plate and it’s up to them how much they eat. We only have two rules – you have to taste it and you can’t be rude to food. So you can’t say yuck, gross, disgusting etc.


  • Yep that’s very much what we did and do. A child has to taste something many many times before it might appreciate something. We’re big on encouraging new things and my kids are most willing to try.

    • And lately my kids have been asking for new things, especially when we go to the shop together…they see something what they never had and ask if I can make it (sometimes something what I don’t know myself and then have to google).


  • A great article. My toddler used to eat everything but is now becoming very fussy. We may need to try some of these tips.


  • My boys know that it’s ok not to like something but they need to try everything!


  • This is fantastic information and exactly what I did with my daughter, and still do


  • Great tips thanks. Who doesn’t have fussy kids!


  • I remember my daughter hated cheese and mushrooms when she was a toddler, yet now she loves them. I guess sometimes you just have to wait for tastebuds to adjust. Likewise I hated avocados when I was a child, now I love them.


  • We encourage tasting and I always tell my kids that they don’t have to like it but at least taste it once.


  • I didn’t have any issues with my kids trying and liking new foods. If they didn’t like it, they really let me know tho and refused to touch it again. It’s frustrating when kids won’t try something at home, visit a friends home and try something, come home loving it!

    • Yes it is embarrassing. There may have been a very slight difference in the preparation or cooking to vary the flavour or texture. Some little ones may never like some foods, not even as adults. I don’t believe parents should refuse to give them anything else until they have eaten that. I had a friend who insisted her baby son ate a particular vegetable and was sick after eating it a few times. In the end his Grandma told her she was not to do it at her place again, that the child obviously either didn’t like it or had an allergic reaction. It was a vegetable that naturally contains sulphur. At an older age it was discovered he was allergic to it.


  • A very good article. Yes, I always asked my daughter to try new food. If then she didn’t like it, that’s fine. But a lot of times she really realized that something was tastier than what she expected! :-)


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