I do not know how you feel about ketchup but I never quite developed a taste for this condiment. Despite this, it had a permanent spot on our shopping list for a couple of  years because the kids seemed to really like it. I know I could have banned it from the household but I did not want them to overeat it in friends’ houses and at birthday parties, where they had a free access to it.

Believe me, seeing them dip almost every item on the menu into a sauce with a teaspoon of sugar per each tablespoon was not the sight I wanted to see as a nutritionist.  But I also know that they were more adventurous around new foods if the predictable flavor of ketchup served as a bridge between familiar and new flavors.

Then, since about a year ago, the kids suddenly stopped asking me for ketchup and focused more on another favorite dip – olive oil with a sprinkle of salt. I still kept a bottle of ketchup in the fridge for the rare occasions when they still demanded it. And then, all of a sudden, our household became ketchup-free when my 7 year old requested that I buy tomato sauce instead. (Hurray!)

Tomato sauce_small

Since we are big fans of taste tests, we did not miss this opportunity to exercise the right to vote :). We bought a small selection of various tomato sauces from a local supermarket and sampled them the same evening. Interestingly, we all liked more the sauces made out of fresh tomatoes than the one made of tomato puree. We talked a little about how fresh food tastes better and moved on to thoroughly enjoying our simple dinner of roasted chicken and vegetables with a newfound family favorite – Rao’s Homemade Marinara sauce.

Tomato sauce votes_small

Take away messages:

– Serving a familiar dip is a great way to encourage young kids to try new foods.

– As kids grow, they taste buds mature and they become ready for more complex (and less sweet) flavors.

– Taste test is a fun way for the whole family to try something new!

What are your thoughts about ketchup?

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