Getting Kids to Try New Foods – A Great Tip
Sometimes getting kids to try a new food is like trying to negotiate a better deal on your cable bill. You beg and plead and threaten to quit, but no one budges until the very end.
I know a lot of parents that dread mealtimes because it’s usually a battle, where most of the time the kids win. It’s especially annoying when you find a new food that your kids like and the very next day, they swear they hate it and will never eat it again. So goes the life of a parent.
I’ve found a good tip that works with my kids when trying to introduce a new food. It’s quite simple but it has worked for us, most of the time. Please note I didn’t say it works every time, because let’s face it, that would require magic!
Ready for it….my tried and true tip is: Incorporate the new food with a favorite food
Seems simple right? It is and it works. Think of something your kids love to eat, now think of something you want them to eat more of (or at least try) that you could add to that dish. For example, maybe your kids love macaroni and cheese (shocking, I know) but don’t eat many sources of meat/protein. Try dicing up some chicken breast and adding it to the macaroni.
Here’s the tricky part though, the new food can’t just be served alongside the favorite dish. It’s too easy to avoid or claim they don’t like it that way. I’ve found the kids are more likely to try the new food if it’s incorporated into the actual dish.
I also think that it’s beneficial to the kids that you don’t try and cut the food up so small that they can’t see it, you don’t want them to think you are trying to trick them into eating something they don’t like. Be open about it. When I add a new food to another dish, I cut it up into pieces that are easily distinguishable and for that matter, easily picked out if they don’t like it. We have a rule at my house that the kids have to at least try one bite of a new food. If they don’t like it, that’ fine, they don’t have to eat it. They usually end up eating it, even after they declare their dislike for it, when it’s served with things they like.
Another example, one we recently tried at our house, involved broccoli. My kids didn’t want to touch broccoli with a ten foot pole.
I tried preparing it a few different ways (steamed, served raw with ranch dip) but finally ended up chopping it up and adding it a dish my kids love: pasta and tomatoes.
They scarfed it down.
There will be triumphs and there will definitely be failures. Don’t give up though. Food is meant to be enjoyed and I think kids are capable of that, but it takes time for them to learn to try new things.
I’d love to hear some of the ways you get your kids to try new things, leave a comment below!