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Understanding Preferences

Like you, your children will have their own natural preferences – some prefer sweet flavours, while others enjoy bitter, some prefer crunchy, others soft, cooked foods. The very first step to supporting your child when it comes to eating vegetables is to understand what veg they naturally prefer.

“Eurgh, it’s disgusting!”

Understanding your child’s personal preferences can be your greatest tool in getting them to eat more veg.

Think of cheese, wine, or even chocolate. You probably have a favourite type, brand, taste or texture. Vegetables are just the same – they vary widely in textures and flavours, and very few of us like them all. It’s not necessary for someone to love all veggies – many have a very healthy diet eating only a small range of veg.

We all have personal tastes, preferences and favourites when it comes to food. It can be a lifesaver to have tools that help you discover your family’s tastes so that you can give yourself the best chances at victory when it comes to getting kids to try new veg.


To get some practical tips on this, we turned to our friend Kim Smith at TastEd, who teaches children how to explore veg & fruit through their senses. Here are simple ways for you to understand your children’s preferences and make the most of them:

more than just taste

Exploring veg with all their senses can naturally bring out descriptive language that tells you what they like and dislike.

Next time your child engages with a vegetable, try to gently encourage using their senses (emphasising that they don’t need to try and they don’t need to like it to remove any pressure), and see if they can use descriptive language that can help you understand their preferences and find other veggies they may like that are similar in texture (or sound, temperature, colour, flavour, etc) to make the next step an easier one. Use the chart below to keep track of this information and lead you to the best veg to try next.


Might be sweet, sour, bitter, savoury, salty, spicy, or words that compare to other things like grassy, watery or hot/cold.


Could be described with words such as bright, red (or yellow or green, etc), dark, bumpy or striped.


Might bring out words like strong, sweet, grassy, or mild. Often associated with memories – does it bring anything back to them?


Can be loud or quiet or even musical. Is it crunchy, soft, hard? Does it sound louder when you pop on some headphones?


Might lead to hard, soft, lumpy, hot, cold or slimy. Is it smooth or rough? Does it have bumps? If you pop it in a clean sock and try just feeling without seeing, does it remind you of anything else?

Texture, touch and taste

Describe, don’t react

Use our veg selector!



Check out our vegepedia. When to buy in-season. How to store them to keep for longer. How to engage children with each veg, and simple ideas of how to prepare and cook them for maximum taste and minimum waste. Select a veg…

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