Steps to help fussy children try new food

Posted by iChild, August 12, 2020 12:50 PM

By child psychologist Dr Sam Wass, working with Tilda Kids range

Appetite for change: 90% of parents want children to have a more diverse diet, despite new research revealing children’s food preferences are the same as a generation ago.

‘The Secret Life of 4-Year-Olds’ child psychologist, Dr Sam Wass unveils the science behind our children’s eating behaviours.


There’s no denying the increased accessibility to new and exciting foods that weren’t around a generation ago, but according to research released today, this hasn’t translated into our children developing more diverse food pallets.

A nationwide survey conducted by Tilda Kids Rice revealed that our children’s favourite foods are exactly the same as their parents’ favourites when they were their age. Chicken nuggets, sausages and pizza are still the preferred foods, while a whole generation later, Brussels sprouts still hail as children’s most disliked food.

Internationally recognised child psychologist from the award-winning Channel 4 series ‘The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6-year-olds’, Dr Sam Wass says there are scientific reasons why the same foods tend to come out as favourites year after year. “The density of taste buds in children’s mouths are different, meaning that they often prefer less strong-tasting foods”. Despite their preferences leaning towards blander foods, Dr Wass says parents should still continue to encourage children to try new things, “as this in turn helps their taste buds develop further”.

One common theme among UK parents was a strong desire for their children to try more foods. The study by Tilda Kids found that over 90% of parents were keen for their little ones to eat a more varied diet, full of healthy foods.

Almost half of UK parents also revealed that their children are most open to trying new foods when at home. Delving into the science behind this insight, Dr Sam Wass unveiled that “children are often most happy to take a risk and try something new at home, because this is where they are comfortable and relaxed. It also helps that you’re not in a hurry at home, so you can leave the food on the plate until they change their mind and decide to have a go!”

The research also found that more than half of the UK make their children different meals to the rest of the family, but despite this, families do still eat together an average of five times per week. Dr Wass says that making children’s meals that are similar to our own can encourage them to try more foods. He says eating ‘adult foods’ with the rest of the family, makes them feel more grown-up themselves. He says that a simplified version of adult foods can be a great way to do this as it “encourages them to step beyond their ‘kiddy food’ comfort zone, but in a way that leaves them feeling in control and confident”.

The Tilda Kids range enables parents to introduce new and exciting flavours into their children’s diets, simply and easily – ready in as little as 40 seconds. The range, which was recently accredited by Mumsnet, has been developed to ensure each of the five different flavours can be easily incorporated into a whole host of family recipes or enjoyed on their own.

Dr Sam Wass said “The Tilda Kids range is a great introduction to new tastes and textures for children who are happily eating solid foods. All five recipes provide a good variety of flavours to help develop their taste buds, while also getting in one of their five a day, which isn’t always easy!”

The research commissioned by Tilda Kids also shortlisted the top ten foods that UK parents said they didn’t have themselves as a child, but would feed their kids today:

- Avocado
- Sweet potato
- Mango
- Quinoa
- Kale
- Fresh ravioli pasta
- Smoothies
- Sushi
- Nut butters
- Curry and rice

By child psychologist Dr Sam Wass, working with Tilda Kids range

Dr Sam Wass-2


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