Neat Trick

Last week I was driving with my best friend — Leonard Lopate, obviously — whose guests were two parenting podcasters: Dan Pashman, host of “The Sporkful,” and Hillary Frank, host of “The Longest Shortest Time.” They were discussing “Raising Adventurous Eaters,” and had some good advice for parents of picky eaters — I’m happy to report that family dinner and the idea of repeated exposure came up a few times. But my favorite moment in the radio segment occurred at the end, when a listener called in to share how she raised her kids to love vegetables — specifically peppers. It sounds like her children are all grown now, but she still could not mask her delight when she told Lopate and his panel that the way she got her kids to eat bell peppers was by asking them to close their eyes before eating one, then seeing if they could correctly identify the color — red, green, or yellow? As her kids tested, they tasted, as they tasted they got their daily intake. I thought this was pretty hilarious — and I couldn’t help but think of endless options for riffing, especially now that the farmer’s market is exploding with crazy varieties of just about every vegetable. Carrots: Orange, red, or white? Tomatoes: yellow, red, green? Beans: purple or green? Eggplant: Purple or white? Beets: Red, orange, striped, golden? I could go on. I’m sure you could, too.

Anyway, thanks for the tip, Sidney* from New Jersey, whoever you are!

Related: 44 Things We’ve Told Our Kids to Get Them to Eat

Related, Oldie but Goodie: Can you tell the difference between white wine from red wine when blindfolded? Don’t be so sure. (And don’t do this one with the kids.)

*I think that was your name. Forgive me, I didn’t re-listen.

Photo: Edible Cape Cod

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6 Comments

Awads

I’ve been watching my nearly 7-year old son evolve from a picky eater into a more tolerant type. He’s not eating raw oysters or anything too exotic, but he’ll taste anything at least once and make a decision from there. He knows that “taste buds change” so he keeps on trying. And there’s no pressure from his parents, just the gentle nudge of “one bite.” I firmly believe that it just takes plenty of repeated exposure to get a kid to accept a new food.

Reply
HeyBeckyJ

No joke – I pulled this “trick” with my three year old just last week!! We were having chicken fajitas (hers were deconstructed). She’s been giving the excuse lately that she doesn’t like cooked peppers; I’m not buying it. I had her close her eyes and guess what color pepper I put in her mouth. A few guesses later, and she had eaten her whole serving. Huge mom win! Love the idea of expanding it beyond peppers.

Reply
Jess.

“(And don’t do this one with the kids.)” This made me laugh. Fun tip. We’ll have to try that one for peppers. My kids are punks about eating peppers.

Reply
Carlinne @Cook with 2 Chicks

Gorgeous picture! I can’t believe I couldn’t tell the difference between red and white wine blindfolded. I’ll definitely give that a try. I see how a challenge is motivating. I think that could work with my 13 year old. Thanks for the idea.

Reply
Julie

My oldest once told me she didn’t like the sauce on her mushrooms. I told her to lick it off and then she could eat the mushrooms without the sauce…and she DID. I count it as one of my biggest parenting wins. :-)

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