Tips For Getting Kids To Try New Foods
Get your kids involved in meal planning from the beginning to the end.
- Let your kids help decide the menu for the week.
- Allow your kids to help make your grocery list.
- At the store, let your kids pick out a new healthy food to try for the week. If it is something you have never tried, go home and look up a recipe together. Let them help you find items on your grocery list and put them in the cart.
- Allow your kids to help with food preparation - reading recipes, washing vegetables, snapping beans, measuring, mixing, setting table, serving plates, and cleaning up.
- Our lives are so busy, but it is important to have a time each day to come together as a family. Meal time is the perfect time to catch up on each other’s day. We like to go around the table and ask “Best part of the day” and “worst part of the day.” It’s a great way to hear about the good things going on in your kid’s life and the things they are struggling with. It’s also good for kids to hear that parents have struggles too and helps open the lines of communication.
- It’s important to cook only one meal for the whole family. Kids will never learn to try new foods if they are having special meals prepared just for them each night.
- Meal time should be positive. Some kids are just stubborn and picky, while others have real anxiety about trying new foods. I never MAKE my kids try new foods, although I strongly encourage it. I usually add a couple of bites of a new food to their plate and then let them decide whether or not to eat it. However, if it is a vegetable that I know they like, I will usually make them eat at least half.
- You might have to offer a new food up to 15 times before your child will even try it! I see this time and time again with my pickiest eater. I’ll think she is never going to try a food and then one day, I turn around and she has eaten every bite.
- Let your kids see you try new foods and be enthusiastic about new foods even if they are not your favorite. Don’t assume that because you don’t like a certain food that your child will not like it either.
- This is always a great time for me to try new foods with my kids because they are already excited about the meal.
- Our kids are not required to eat a new food, but they are not allowed to complain about it either. If one of them says they do not like a certain food it’s likely to discourage my other kids from trying the food as well.
- Using special plates, bowls, spoons etc. can make trying new foods fun for kids.
- One of the most common things I hear parents say is, “If you don’t eat your vegetables, then you won’t get dessert.” I grew up in family where dessert was more of a special occasion and have raised my kids the same way. If you have older kids start to decrease the amount of days dessert is offered after dinner, and if your kids are really young, don’t start the habit.
- My favorite reward is extra play time outside because it is extra exercise and my kids love it. Find what motivates your child and run with it!
- Teach your kids about the nutrients that are in foods and how they help our bodies grow. Kids are more likely to eat new foods if they understand how that food will benefit them, rather than just being told to eat it.
- Personalize the benefits of healthy eating for your child. For example, “If you eat the rest of your chicken and broccoli, I bet it will give you extra energy for your soccer game tomorrow.”