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FOODS TO TRY. Green Beans PICKY EATER PROGRESSION: GREEN BEANS

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Green Beans

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : G R E E N B E A N S

Level 1 . Have your child sit at the kitchen table and watch you prepare the green beans for the meal or snack.

. Tell a story when preparing the green beans and use them as props

» Like "The snake family went to get haircuts. First, they wet their hair to make it easier to cut. (Wash the beans.) Then, they each took their turn getting their hair cut. The daddy is going first฀snip! (cut or snap off the ends of the beans)

. "Can you point to the longest green bean?" "Can you point to the shortest?"

» If they’re young, you can put out just two green beans (one big and one small) and say, "Which one is big?"

. During the meal, describe characteristics of the green beans on your plate. Size, color, shape, temperature, etc.

. Place green beans on a plate and try to move the plate closer to your little one during the meal, as tolerated.

» Do this slowly and do not draw attention to it. Be stealthy.

. Ask, "which is louder?" and snap a raw green bean in half, and then snap your fingers. Then tell them to close their eyes and see if they can guess whether you are snapping a green bean or your fingers

Level 2 . Help rinse green beans in the sink

. Use the green beans as the eyebrows or the smile for a smiley face on their plate . "Find a daddy and a mommy and let’s open them up to see the babies! How many

babies are there? Let’s count!" (the peas are the babies)

. Play tic tac toe using green beans to make the board, and each chooses another food as your X and O (like blueberry and pretzel)

Level 3 . Have the child use a green bean as a mustache . Have them smell cooked or canned green beans

Continued

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© M A M A K N O W S N U T R I T I O N • O N E M E A L C H A L L E N G E

Green Beans

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : G R E E N B E A N S C O N T .

Level 4 . "Can you pull out the longest green bean?" "Can you pull out the shortest?"

» If they’re young, you can put out just two green beans (one big and one small) and say, "Pick the biggest one"

. Dip a green bean into a dressing and use it to "draw" like a marker on a plate . Make shapes or letters using the green beans

. Rinse green beans one by one in the sink and put them in a bowl or on a tray

. Make a "witch finger" with a green bean and a little hummus on the end, plus a sliced almond as the fingernail

. Have them snap the green beans in half or just the ends off

Level 5 . (With a raw green bean) Who can crunch louder me or you? Let’s see!

. If they like regular peas, open up the green bean for them to try the peas inside . Serve with a favorite dip

. Show them how to be a walrus with two green beans in your top lip . Try canned green beans if they like soft smushy foods

. Green bean chips if they like crunchy (like these)

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Broccoli

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : B R O C C O L I

Level 1 . Water the plants: you can pretend to "water the plants" and "let the plants drink some water" by washing off the broccoli in the sink

. As you are placing the broccoli on your plate, you can say something about the broccoli, like

» "I can’t wait to eat these trees, I’m like a giraffe"

» "They must have picked this broccoli right on time at the farm, it’s so green" . Have a serving bowl of broccoli next to them for the meal

Level 2 . Make a forest: use broccoli as the trees, and get toy dinosaurs or animals to live in the forest to make a scene for playing

. If the child is older, have them serve the broccoli using tongs, or move it from the cutting board with tongs

Level 3 . Have them in the kitchen when you are cooking the broccoli

. Do a smell test. One raw piece, then one cooked piece. Ask, "what do you notice about the smell?"

Level 4 . Match the trees: use dot stickers or a marker to draw circles on a paper in different colors. Tell them to put the broccoli trees on the green circles.

» You can use cauliflower for other colors like purple or orange

. Make tree paintings: slice a floret down the middle so you have a flat edge. Let them dip that in paint and stamp it onto a paper

. Dip the broccoli in water and catch the drops of water in your mouth

Level 5 . Broccoli sprinkles: slice off the very tips of the broccoli to make tiny "sprinkles." Let your little one add them to a favorite food

. Dip it: let them dip it in anything they’d like- ketchup, ranch, syrup, really can be anything that sounds good to them

. Pretend it’s an ice cream cone and give it a lick . Pretend to be a dino and chomp on the trees . Pretend to be a giraffe and nibble on the trees

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© M A M A K N O W S N U T R I T I O N • O N E M E A L C H A L L E N G E

Beans

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : B E A N S

Level 1 . Use different types of beans to tell a story

. Have different types of beans at the table and compare them

» Like "this one is black and this one is spotted" or "I like this bean because it is bigger than the others"

. Let them watch you rinse canned beans in a strainer

Level 2 . Give them 3 utensils to choose from (for example a teaspoon, a tablespoon, and a fork) and a small bowl of cooked beans. Tell them the goal of the game is to get the beans to the other container (another bowl, or for more of a challenge use a bottle) without dropping any on the table or floor

. Have them help pour the beans into a strainer and rinse them in the sink

Level 3 . Guess the food: show them three foods (beans, plus two other things that have some aroma, like citrus, toast, banana) then have them close their eyes. You put each food by their face one at a time and have them guess

Level 4 . "Does this bean feel wet or dry? I have a towel if you want to wipe your hands after you feel it"

. "Be a pirate"- use a black bean to blacken out teeth like a pirate

. Pretend the beans are bugs and they have to squish them! Give them something like a small jar or cup to smash them down, or even a rolling pin to roll over them

. Mix a few beans in with a liked food of a similar size (corn, peas, berries, cheerios) and give them two small dishes to sort them- beans in one dish, other food in the other

Level 5 . Add unsalted beans to a smoothie

. Try this cookie dough dip with chickpeas (ages 2+)

. "Can you squish it with your teeth the way you squished it on the table?" (after doing the bug squishing activity in level 4)

. Mash one or two beans (start really small!) into a quesadilla or a grilled cheese sandwich

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Chicken

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : C H I C K E N

Level 1 . Have your child sit at the kitchen table and watch you prepare the chicken for the meal

. Talk about how the marinated chicken tastes . Have the plated chicken near them during a meal

Level 2 . Use tongs to put cooked chicken pieces on a plate . "Paint" with a marinade or sauce with a silicone brush . Have them cut up cold chicken into small pieces for a salad

Level 3 . Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the store, chat about what you smell

Level 4 . Pretend to "look for dinosaur bones" in a cooked whole chicken and have them help you separate the bones from the meat

. Help with dipping in batter or breading for homemade chicken tenders

. Cut a chicken nugget in half, and a piece of regular cooked chicken in half. Poke it, and talk about how they feel and look. Are they similar? Are they different?

Level 5 . Try a different brand of chicken nuggets . Try homemade chicken nuggets

. Try making ground chicken or chicken meatballs (ground meat can sometimes go better than whole pieces at this stage)

. Shred a few teeeeeny tiny pieces into something they like

. If they like tuna salad, you can try chicken salad prepared the same way

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Lettuce

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : L E T T U C E

Level 1 . Have the salad near them during a meal

. Talk to them about what you are doing with the lettuce and what it goes into . Put a round head of lettuce in front of your face and pretend it’s talking

. Use two romaine leaves by your ears to pretend they are dog or elephant ears, or sing

"do your ears hang low"

Level 2 . Have the child mix the lettuce into a salad with utensils or shake it up in a bag . Use pieces of lettuce as hair, mustache, or a bowtie for a smiley face

. Use the lettuce in a counting game, like "how many pieces of lettuce are on this plate?" . Let them press the button on the salad spinner

Level 3 . Use a piece of lettuce as a big mustache or beard . Pretend a piece of lettuce is a face mask

. Cut holes in the lettuce like goggles or glasses to put on their eyes

Level 4 . Tear it up with hands . Cut it with scissors

. Pretend to feed it to stuffed animals or for real feed it to a pet . Put it into the salad spinner

. See who can make the largest tower out of small pieces of lettuce . Make it a bed for a baby doll or other figurine

Level 5 . Shred it and serve with a favorite dip

. Make a fruit salad with fruit and 1-2 lettuce pieces mixed in

. If they like croutons, serve with lettuce and you show them how you are eating the salad with the lettuce and croutons together

. Add a few shreds of lettuce onto a sandwich

. "This is what bunnies eat!" (take a nibble and pretend to be a bunny. Then hand it to them and see if they’ll "be a bunny" too)

. Do a dressing taste test- set out 3 small dishes with different dressings, and dip the lettuce into each one to decide which is the best

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Avocado

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : A V O C A D O

Level 1 . Use an avocado in a story

» It can be a dragon egg or a treasure chest . Talk about feeling for ripeness

. Ask them to guess whether it will be nice and green, or have some brown boo-boos inside and watch you cut it open

Level 2 . Have them mash it with a fork or potato masher . Have them scoop the avocado flesh out

. Grow an avocado plant! (Or just watch this guy do it)

Level 3 . Do the "guess the food" game- avocado plus two other foods and with their eyes closed, bring each one near their face for them to smell and guess it

Level 4 . Show them how to feel for ripeness (hard like a rock- not ready, feels a little soft- it’s ready)

. Put some avocado cubes in a plastic baggie and seal it, and let them smush it with their hands (without getting their hands messy)

. Use pureed avocado as "paint" (with a brush or fingers; thin it with a little water) . Have them add fresh or frozen cubed avocado to a blender for a smoothie

Level 5 . Add some to a smoothie . Chocolate avocado pudding

. Purée and add 1/2 teaspoon to a purée they enjoy, or into refried beans . Mash and spread a thin amount in a quesadilla or a sandwich

. Banana avocado apple muffins . Chocolate avocado fudge pops . Avocado blueberry pancakes

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© M A M A K N O W S N U T R I T I O N • O N E M E A L C H A L L E N G E

Cauliflower

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : C A U L I F L O W E R

Level 1 . Play "what does it look like?" and take turns saying what pops into your head

» If they are too young, just say things for them. "Oooh this piece looks like a cloud! Now let’s look at a cloud in the sky." "This one reminds me of a Santa beard!"

. Prepare the cauliflower while they are having a snack and can see you chopping it

Level 2 . Have them come up to the sink and turn on the water to help rinse it off after you chop it . Pour- even if you don’t need to measure out the cauliflower, I would add pieces to a

measuring cup and let them pour it onto the baking sheet or into the pot where you’ll be cooking it

. Count the pieces (depending on age, you may have to count for them and use their finger in your hand to point at each piece, or count with them, or have them count)

. Older kiddos, have them do some math. 2 pieces here, 3 pieces on this side, how many total?

Level 3 . Have them at the counter after you take roasted cauliflower out of the oven so they can smell it (you don’t have to tell them to smell, they will just smell it being near it)

Continued

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Cauliflower

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : C A U L I F L O W E R C O N T .

Level 4 . Shovel the "snow" or make "snow angels" with raw cauliflower rice (you can pulse it in the food processor, or buy the pre-shredded rice) and small toys

. Cut the stems down and use cauliflower pieces to make a picture on the plate with

"clouds" in the sky

. Make a Santa face with cauliflower hair and beard, red pepper hat and mouth, blueberry, grape, olive, or chocolate chip eyes

. Show them how to hold up a piece of cauliflower to their chin so it looks like they have a beard too

. Let them paint on a whole head of cauliflower to make it a "flower bouquet"

. Do they love orange or purple? Pick up a head of orange or purple cauliflower at the store (no expectations to actually eat it, but they can help rinse it and put it on a tray to roast) . Practice counting with pieces of cauliflower

. Make a letter C with pieces of caulifllower

. Drop a piece on the floor, "uh oh I dropped it! Silly me. Can you get it for me?"

Level 5 . If you did the snow activity -> let’s put it on our tongue and see if it melts like snow . Add frozen cauliflower rice to smoothies (it adds creaminess, and you don’t have to cook

it first)

. Cauliflower pizza crust

. If they like mashed potatoes, add in a few pieces of cauliflower along with the potatoes to boil them, then mash it all together

. If they like rice, add in just a few small pieces of cauliflower rice

. Cauliflower crackers (they don’t taste like cauliflower but have a picture of cauliflower on the bag, so it can be a good first Level)

. Serve raw, along with other veggies or fruit they like and with a dip they love

. Model a "princess bite" or "bunny nibble" or "snake lick" - they may copy you, but don’t force it

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© M A M A K N O W S N U T R I T I O N • O N E M E A L C H A L L E N G E

Sweet Potato

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : S W E E T P O T A T O

Level 1 . Give the sweet potatoes a "bath" by rinsing them in the sink to remove the dirt

» Describe the texture of the sweet potatoes

. As you prepare the sweet potatoes to be cooked talk about the color

» "These are such a bright shade of orange they’ll really brighten up my plate, don’t you think?"

Level 2 . Have child help with giving the sweet potatoes their "bath" -- See Level 1

. Cut the sweet potatoes into rounds and ask child to build a sweet potato tower with you

» See who can build the tallest tower

. Have child place groups of sweet potato pieces on a plate

» "Can you please put 3 pieces of sweet potato on this plate for me? Now can you put 4 more pieces on there?"

Level 3 . See who can balance a piece of sweet potato on their nose . Let child help in kitchen while sweet potatoes are cooking . Describe how the sweet potatoes smell while they are cooking

Level 4 . Use sweet potato fries to paint a picture using ketchup

. Make a stamp out of the sweet potato and have child stamp pictures onto a piece of paper

» Cut sweet potato in half

» Draw shape on potato

» Cut around shape

» Dab potato in paint

» Stamp potato on paper

» Let paint dry

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Sweet Potato

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : S W E E T P O T A T O C O N T .

Level 5 . Have child lick a sweet potato fry

. Let child dip their fingers in mashed sweet potato and then lick it off

. Have child put a tiny bite in their mouth and then discretely spit it into a napkin . Ask child to show you how their favorite animal might eat the sweet potato . If child likes purees try mashing sweet potato and banana together

. If child likes sweets, try making this purple sweet potato frosting recipe to put on a favorite muffin

. If your child likes warm and/or sweet foods try making mini sweet potato casseroles together

» Mix mashed sweet potatoes with some milk, butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar, top with mini marshmallows spoon into mini ramekins that are sprayed well with cooking spray and bake at 350°F until marshmallows are lightly toasted.

. If your child likes cold foods, try adding mashed sweet potatoes to a favorite smoothie . If your child likes crunchy foods, try Alexia crispy bite size sweet potato puffs or sweet

potato fries

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Bell Pepper

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : B E L L P E P P E R

Level 1 . Let child pick their favorite color of bell pepper at the grocery store . Use the different sized bell peppers to tell a funny story

» Bigger bell pepper, "I’m the mommy pepper." Smaller bell pepper, "I’m the baby bell pepper." . Have child listen to how crunchy the bell peppers can be when they’re cut then ask them

which color sounds the crunchiest

Level 2 . Let child use a kid friendly knife to slice bell peppers

. Let child use tongs to serve bell pepper pieces to themselves

. Give child a colorful variety of bell pepper pieces and ask them to sort the pieces by color

Level 3 . Hold colorful strips of bell pepper like a bouquet of flowers, and ask child to sniff the

"flowers"

. Use strips of bell pepper as mustaches

. Have child sit safely close by while you cook bell peppers . otatoes smell while they are cooking

Level 4 . Challenge child to hang a round slice of bell pepper on their puckered lips . Use bell pepper strips and round slices to play tic tac toe on a piece of paper

. Slice up the various colors of bell pepper (green, red, orange, yellow) into rings and strips, and ask child to make a picture on their plate with them

» Maybe a rainbow with colorful clouds or a face

Level 5 . Add a couple tiny pieces of bell pepper to child’s favorite dish, gradually add more as child tolerates

. Use strips of bell peppers as lion fangs . Lick bell pepper strip like a lollipop . Use cookie cutters in their favorite shape

. Serve as an appetizer with other liked veggies/fruit and a favorite dip . Puree roasted red peppers and add to pasta sauce

. Puree cold sauteed bell pepper and mix into ketchup

. Puree roasted bell peppers (any color) and add to meatballs . Puree bell peppers and add to favorite homemade pie filling

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Egg

P I C K Y E A T E R P R O G R E S S I O N : E G G

Level 1 . Show child how fun it can be to crack an egg

. Show child different types of eggs (brown, white, speckled) and explain how they’re different

. Have child watch while you whisk and cook scrambled eggs

Level 2 . Hard boil some eggs and have an egg hunt around the house . Dye eggs like Easter eggs

Level 3 . Play close to the kitchen with child while boiling eggs . Place scrambled eggs on face to make a "beard"

Level 4 . Let child squish scrambled eggs in their hands . Have child help peel a hard boiled egg

. Have child use a peeled hard boiled egg like chapstick

Level 5 . Add a tiny amount of scrambled egg to a favorite pasta dish, and slowly increase amount over time as tolerable

. Add a small amount of hard boiled egg white to child’s favorite protein dish, gradually increase amount over time as tolerable

. Eggs for Toddlers: Health Benefits, Servings, & Toddler-Approved Recipes

. If your child likes warm dishes, try French Toast, egg cooked into oatmeal, or these pancakes

. Try egg wraps

References

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