8 Fun Ways to Get Your Kids to Try New Foods
Lots of kids go through a stage where they refuse to try anything new. It generally happens between the ages between two and six. Even kids who were previously considered “good eaters” can suddenly resist trying new foods. So what do you do if your child starts resisting healthy favorites – or won’t try anything new altogether?
Set up a Few Rules First…
Another meltdown after the end of a practically grueling day is something we all like to avoid. But it’s important for your child’s health that they eat nutritious food. To get your children to try new foods, start by creating mealtime rules and stand by them.
For example, make the rule that everyone has to try one bite but keep the verdict quiet until everyone at the table has tried it. Otherwise, if your picky eater hears their sibling hates it before trying it for themselves – you’re doomed. Speaking of peer pressure, it can go in your favor if you invite some adventurous eaters over for dinner. Your kids will likely try and even like the food, if they want to fit in with their friends.
A “No Thank You” Bite rule is always a good idea. Let your child know that they need to try just one bite of each food and then have the option to say “No thank you” to more. By respecting their right to refuse, you’ll be gaining an attempt to try a new food each time. By trying the same foods several times, you’ll find that your child will slowly become accustomed to new tastes and textures.
Old Favorites Made New
If you’re looking to introduce something new, consider starting with foods your kiddos already like. If they like certain fruits, make a fruit kabob but add a new fruit to the mix. Or maybe they like cream cheese, whole wheat tortillas, and cucumbers. Add some shredded carrots in. A favorite tuna salad could use some chives, and your vegetable soup might taste better with some zucchini. Your child’s not going to be able to resist their favorites so add just an ingredient or two and soon they’ll become familiar with new tastes.
Serve up new foods but empower your children with the right to speak their minds. Use this technique for an individual food or when presenting a variety of items such as a plate of different berries, cheeses, or veg.
As a food judge they will use a scorecard to fill out with the following criteria:
- Texture (Do you like the crunchiness/ smoothness, etc.)
- Color (How would you describe the color? Do you like the color?)
- Presentation (What did you like about how the food was arranged on your plate? Did it look appetizing? Would it be easier to eat if it was in a bowl?)
- Taste (Did you like it? What other food would go good with it? If you didn’t like it, what didn’t you like about it?)
After mealtime, let the kids read them out loud. Remind the kids there is no “wrong” opinion. Everyone has different likes and dislikes.
Read All about It
Check out magazines and food blogs so your kids can see food at its best – attractive and mouth -watering. Keep the enthusiasm going and clip or print out the pictures along with the recipe, and hang it on the fridge. Ask them which foods look appetizing to them and try out the recipes.
Create a blog and assign duties to the kids to maintain it. One can take pictures or videos and upload them, while another can write about the recipes and the reviews from all the family members. Share it with your family and friends. You may inspire more adventurous eating!
Kids love being in the driver seat. When you’re shopping with them, have each child pick an item that’s new. No – not that cereal or potato chip they’ve been wanting to try – but an honest to goodness food from the four basic food groups. Talk about how you might prepare it and once home, have the kids Google it to find some recipes. Make it and enjoy.
Build excitement and get everyone involved on Try-it Tuesdays (or whatever day works for your family schedule). Encourage the kids to find foods and/or recipes to try and then place in a jar. Each week, pick what the Try-it Tuesday food will be and post on the fridge. Pair this up with Junior Judges and you’ll have a lot to talk about.
Use special bowls, napkins, plates, and candles to make tastings more festive. Add to the fun by having each person talk in their favorite accent while offering their review of the food.
What’s in the Bag?
Keep the new food item hidden in a bag on the counter or fridge. Invite your kids to ask questions – “Is it a fruit, veggie or pasta?” Or “Do we eat it raw or cook it?’ Curiosity will generate enthusiasm for eating it later.
Don’t reveal the secret ingredient. Have them taste the finished meal and see if they can guess.
Why should you have all the fun of cooking? Invite the kids to be your sous chef. Choose a night that you don’t have a tight time schedule. Give them plenty of counter space and be mindful of younger kids who have underdeveloped motor and dexterity skills. There’s virtually a job everyone can do. Younger kids can squeeze lemons, pick off leaves from herbs, and sprinkle pre-measured spices into the mix. Older kids can peel, dice and mince veggies, use a mixer, and grate cheese.
And remember: Whether you decide on Junior Judges or Try It Tuesdays, you have to stick with your activities of choice. There will be a bit of resistance at the beginning, but soon your children will have a few new favorites.
Are you dealing with a picky eater? What methods have you used to introduce new foods?Tags : health nutrition