Food neophobia, defined as an unwillingness to consume novel and unfamiliar foods is common in young children. Assessment of neophobia or willingness to try new foods can be a challenge with this audience. With the increase in nutrition interventions focused on the young child, valid and reliable measures to assess willingness to try new foods that can be administered in groups by classroom teachers and Extension educators are needed. The Food Friends: Fun with New Foods (FWNF) program aims to increase children’s willingness to try new foods in childcare settings. The Tasting Party assessment was developed as the primary tool for measuring the FWNF program’s impact. Construct and face validity were established and inter-observer reliability between two researchers and teachers was obtained. Findings indicate the Tasting Party could reliably be used by classroom teachers to accurately observe tasting behaviors in a group of preschool-aged children. This provides a low-cost, low-burden valid and reliable assessment tool, thus enhancing the scalability and reach of nutrition education programs focused on young children. The Tasting Party is adaptable for use in Extension programs such as the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed).



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