Never before has such a variety of foods been more readily available. But many families fall into the trap of eating the same familiar eats — like spaghetti, chicken, and PB&J sandwiches — week in and week out.

Why fret: When children are presented with the same foods, they don't learn to appreciate new flavors and textures, reinforcing a picky palate and a fear of unfamiliar foods, says Ayoob. From a body-weight standpoint, a 2008 article published in Science suggests that when the brain isn't gratified from food — which can happen when the family eats roast chicken for the fourth time that week — people are more likely to make midnight fridge raids and add to total calorie intake.

Try this: Once a week, have a new-food-of-the-week meal, featuring healthy ingredients such as quinoa, lean bison, or kale paired with family faves to encourage branching out. “Don't throw in the towel if your child emphatically refuses it at the start. Research shows that it can take ten or more times before a new food is accepted by a finicky eater,” says Phillips, a mother of two. She suggests letting kids loose in the produce department, allowing them to pick a new fresh item they are curious about and then involving them in its preparation so they are more likely to try it. “Or substitute familiar foods like apples with pears,” Ayoob recommends.