cucumber

strategic use of dips

I took my 5 year old niece on a birthday adventure that included lunch out at (cough, cough) McDonald’s. She ordered the chicken nuggets with honey sauce for dipping. I don’t know how many packets of honey sauce she ended up going through but I do know the count was higher than the actual number of nuggets she ate! Afterwards, I told my mom the story, to which she exclaimed “I guess she takes after her aunt since that’s what YOU always did when you were little!”

I’ve since learned that a love for dips extends beyond genetics to other children as well. In general, kids love dips, and for good reason.

  1. The act of dipping is inherently pretty fun. At least I think so.
  2. Dips are usually pretty tasty.

As parents we can use this to develop healthy eaters. A dip can be the familiar friend that makes a new food less scary. This study found that children who are genetically more sensitive to bitter flavours ate more veggies when they were given dip. 

Of course, you don’t want your child to fill up on decadent dips at every meal either!

One suggestion is to treat dips similarly to desserts. Each person gets a portion of dip at the start of the meal/snack and then the dip gets put away. No seconds on dip!

Another option is to make the dips healthier and allow an unlimited amount. For example, try:

  • hummus
  • baba ganoush
  • black bean salsa dip
  • tuna dip
  • greek yogurt with ranch

 

Reflection:

Choose a dip you know your child usually enjoys. Pair it with a food your child has not yet learned to like. Keep offering these two together!