Before & After Lunchbox

Love It, Like It, Learning It Lunchbox:

LOVE IT FOODS: Babybel cheese, Annie's homegrown cheddar bunnies, whole grapes, organic raisins

LIKE IT FOODS: carrots, cashews, hummus

LEARNING IT FOODS: cucumber slices, celery sticks

Before & After Images:

Observations of an Apprehensive Eater:

I received a great question on my Instagram post for this lunch, asking:

"Do your littles usually try the learning foods? Do you expect them too? How often do you introduce the same learn it foods--same for a couple days, different everyday revisiting often etc?"

In case you missed my answer, I've shared it here too.

"That's a great question! I don't have any specific patter for reintroducting; I usually just try to rotate through what we have on hand and to go with introducing seasonal produce when it is in season. Cucumbers/celery/carrots are offered several times a week though at different times (maybe in lunch one day, as an afternoon snack another, then at dinner another day). I try not to exhaust them but rather just continue to re-expose them as a normal item in our diets. I would LOVE if my daughter actually tasted all the learning it foods, but that doesn't always (usually!) happen. It depends on what it is and her temperament at the time it's offered. What I do (and encourage others to do) is to encourage her/kids to try the learning it foods as part of her/their meal; if ever the attitude shifts to being strained or the parent feels like they are using pressure, coercion, or bribing, I say take a step back. Then, just encourage your kid to explore it and learn more about it through how it looks/feels/smells and if willing, tastes (even if it's just a lick!). It all counts as valuable exposure, even if it isn't actually eaten!"

I understand firsthand how frustrating it is when our kids don't eat what we offer, especially when we have given it seemingly again...and again...and again. However I also know that too often, parents burn out and stop offering these unfavored and unfamiliar foods because "our kid doesn't like _________." Declaring such a thing not only shuts off your own openness to your child learning to like, and even love, that food, but it also puts the phrase in your child's head that "I don't like _________." Instead of wishing our kids treated "learning it foods" similar to "like it foods" or "love it foods," what a transformation to our approach it would be if we instead accepted learning it foods as just that -- foods to be learned, for all of their different features of taste, smell, sight, feeling, and even sound. Offer small enough amounts that you don't stress over waste, but big enough amounts to encourage exploration.

The long term benefits of raising a healthy eater for life is worth it!