How do you Encourage Kids to try New Foods and Flavors?

It does not take much for family meals to turn into a battle of wills between parents and fussy eaters. Children who refuse to try new foods and flavors will not only limit their future experiences with exciting cuisines, but they might also be at risk of developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Here is a look at some proven tactics you can use to encourage your children to try new dishes.

Start With Small Portions

Children who sit down to a huge plate of unfamiliar food can easily become overwhelmed. As long as you begin this process early, there is nothing wrong with starting them on much smaller portions. Instead of an entire bowl of peas, two or three peas from your own plate will allow them to get used to the taste and the texture before they starting eating spoonfuls.

Cut Back on Snacks

Allowing your child to fill up on snacks before they try new food is a surefire way to sabotage this process. On the days you decide to try out a new ingredient or food, you should try to cut back on your child’s snacks for a few hours before the meal. Hungrier children will always be more willing to have a small taste of something they have never tried before.

Add New Twists to Familiar Foods

Much like larger portions can overwhelm a child, an entire meal of foods and ingredients they have never tried before might be a bit much to handle. Instead, you should try to make minor changes to familiar foods such as switching from whole wheat bread to flatbread or changing over from yellow potatoes to sweet potatoes. Some companies, like Klosterman Baking Company, even have hot dog buns with poppy seeds in them. Allowing your kids to try new foods can lead them to a variety of textures an flavors throughout their lives.

Make Them Part of the Buying and Cooking Process

When children get to see how a dish is prepared and are part of the process from start to finish, they are much less likely to be apprehensive about trying that dish later on. Even small steps such as picking leaves off of some fresh herbs or letting them choose what kind of meat will go into your next stew could help them expand their palate when it comes time to eat those foods.
Getting picky eaters to try new foods and flavors is going to take some time. This is why it is best to start this process early, keep the portions small in the beginning, and always lead by example.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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