LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Getting kids to eat a variety of foods is a struggle that many moms know too well.

Claire D. Vallotton is a Human Development and Family Studies professor at Michigan State University.

Vallotton said variation in children’s taste is normal and you’re going to see ups and downs.

Kid’s taste buds are more sensitive and they’re still trying to figure out what their bodies need and how to get that in the foods that are offered to them.

Vallotton said it takes 15-20 exposures to new foods sometimes before a child is really willing to eat it, but she did have some tips on how to get your kid to try something new.

“Sniff it, lick it, take a tiny taste, maybe they’re willing to try. You know, sometimes I can get my child to try it and being surprised like, ‘oh I like it.'” Vallotton said.

Something else to try is to get your kids involved in the food making process and let them have a say in what they’re eating.

“Remember that parents set the food environment, so we are the ones to say ‘here is the range of food available to you,'” Vallotton said. “So we can set our nutritious options out and then kind of let children choose within that. Offering them some choice in the matter really does help, especially when they don’t really have a lot of control over their lives, but what they eat is one thing they’re in control of.” Vallotton said.

Another thing to keep in mind is not to force children eat everything on their plate. Research shows it can be very harmful in the long-run and lead to over-eating and obesity, so start with smaller portions first.