Published : Oct 17, 2018
A Game Where Everyone Wins: Making Trying New Foods Fun
Getting kids to try new foods can be a struggle for parents. Parents only want the best for their kids; this includes giving them nutritious (and often, different) foods which will help in their growth and development.
As such, they are always searching for and trying new recipes for picky eaters. Children, on the other hand, are simply wary of foods with new appearances, smells, tastes, textures, and names and will thus refuse to take even one bite out of them. As a result, the kitchen or dining room turns into a battleground where no one really wins.
Removing the Hassles of Getting Kids to Try New Foods
Since most kids are naturally suspicious of (and even averse to) anything new you give them, you need to do something to lighten the atmosphere during meal or snack times. You can do this by making the process of introducing never-before-tried foods interesting and fun.
Here are some useful tips and techniques:
- Introduce new foods digitally.
Give kids a smartphone or tablet and they will immediately play a game they like. You can also get your children to learn more about different foods and nutrition when you have them play with some meal-time related games.
Food-related apps and games can teach kids about the different food groups for children. They can learn about the various fruits, vegetables, and other types of victuals, both familiar and new, and discover the health benefits they offer. Kids can also get ideas on how to make better and healthier food choices, have good table manners, etc.
By playing these games and apps, kids will have a broader knowledge of the different foods around. Their curiosity will also be stimulated and you will have an easier time getting them to taste a grapefruit, Brussels sprouts, or a new dish they’ve never tried before.
- Start a garden and get the little ones involved.
Start an outdoor vegetable and/or fruit garden if you have space on your lawn or even a small indoor one. Get the kids to help you with all the gardening chores: planting, watering, fertilizing, and harvesting.
Having a garden will improve your children's knowledge of produce. In addition, it will increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables. If you want them to eat produce they haven’t tried yet or don’t want to taste, find out if you can grow these ones first.
Since your kids have worked hard consistently in growing these vegetables and fruits, they will be curious and even excited to taste them once they’re ready to eat. Growing a garden may require some work, but the results are well worth all the effort since you get to eat something new and healthy.
- Give your kids “fun” foods.
Be creative when serving new foods. Make faces out of food using toppings and sauces. Cut fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches into interesting shapes using cookie cutters. You can also consider serving bite-sized food your little ones can spear with safe-for-kids toothpicks or barbecue sticks.
When serving new foods, make sure there is an assortment of colors and shapes so that your kids won’t be able to take their eyes off them. You can follow this tip even when trying a recipe for fussy eaters so that you’ll get them to eat more.
- Get kids to make artworks out of their snacks and meals.
Let your kids make some art projects using food. Using different shaped and colored fruits and veggies, get your children to come up with an edible picture on a square plate. You can also use fruits to make stamps; halved strawberries can look like heart-shaped stamps.
Another trick is to give your little ones different dips and sauces to use as paint. Next, give them an assortment of vegetables such as celery, calorie sticks, boiled broccoli and cauliflowers to use as paint brushes. For the canvas, a plain, undecorated plate will do. While working on their works of art, encourage them to taste their edible materials.
When they’re done, tell them they can eat their art pieces as a reward.
- Serve foods family style.
Serve dishes in the middle of the table instead of plating them individually. By doing so, your kids won’t have to make the important decision of choosing what they want to eat at the very beginning of the meal. In addition, they also get to see and smell all the food without feeling any pressure to eat it.
During family mealtimes, don’t force your kids to try everything. Even if they fill their plates only with their favorites, the new food is still on the table and they can get a spoonful of and taste it anytime.
Kids will also feel more curious and courageous to try new foods if they see their role models eating them – that includes you and the other members of the family. As such, make a show (and tell the others on the table to follow suit) of liking the dish your little ones haven’t tried before.
If you want your children to try some new food, aside from making the dish really appealing, let them enjoy the actual experience of eating them. When you do, you can ensure that mealtimes won’t turn into exasperating battles against your kids.