Have you ever watched another family with young children and noticed their kids seem to eat anything while you have to fight to get your kids to venture beyond chicken nuggets? Maybe you are so tired of the fight to get your preschooler to eat something besides PB&J that you have given up. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Parents everywhere struggle to get their kids to try new foods.
As an adult, one recognizes numerous amazing foods are out there and has (hopefully) tried a wide range of foods. But for children, trying new foods can be scary and overwhelming. But children need to eat a balanced diet to grow and have healthy bodies.
5 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Try New Foods
Let them grow their food.
Do you have a place to set up a container garden or perhaps a spot in the yard for a garden? Then, let your kids choose a few veggies that interest them, and then help them with the cultivating. The caveat? Your kids need to agree to try whatever they grow. Many times, being a part of the entire process from plant to plate will make it more attractive for your kids and build excitement about trying something new.
Get them in the kitchen.
If growing their food isn’t an option, then letting them help prepare the food is a great approach. Let them help with recipe selection, then give them age-appropriate tasks to help make the dish. From getting out the ingredients to mixing, sprinkling in seasonings, shredded cheese, etc., to measuring, your youngster can help in many ways. And in helping make the dish, they will have a sense of pride and ownership that makes trying something new more fun.
Let them play with their food.
No matter how you slice it, eggplant, asparagus, tomatoes, squash, and other veggies can be strange. They have unique textures, colors, and flavors that can seem intimidating. Allow your child to ‘dissect’ the food so they can see what it is all about. In doing so, you may discover a common theme in why they do or do not like specific foods. Perhaps they like crunchier foods over soft ones, spicy over bland, foods without seeds, or some other quirk. Identifying their likes can go a long way toward them trying new foods.
You can’t ask your kids to try something new if you don’t. Be willing to try new foods so your kids see that doing so is fun.
Don’t put large servings of new foods on your child’s plate. Put a green bean, a slice of squash, one bit of roast- whatever it is you want them to try, start small. Also, don’t give them multiple new foods in one meal. Limit the new offerings to one per meal. You might even want to designate certain days of the week as “New Foods Days.” This way, your child isn’t caught off-guard by being asked to try something unexpected.
Introducing new foods to your children doesn’t have to be stressful- for you or your child. These approaches and tips can make it easier. Be patient and consistent, and your child will have a broader palate in time. And who knows? You might have discovered a few new foods, too. We would love to hear from you if you have tips or stories to share about teaching kids to try new. Reach out to Early Years Academy Childcare to share your insights about expanding your child’s culinary interests.