Three Ways to Get Picky Eaters to Try New Foods

Three Ways to Get Picky Eaters to Try New Foods

We all know how much kids love trying new foods, right? Anyone who has spent time negotiating with toddlers to get something green and healthy in their mouths can attest to how difficult it can be to introduce children to new fruits, boy and cooked vegetablesvegetables, and other foods. Still, there’s hope. All you need is a little imagination and determination.

Minute Menu is dedicated to helping you provide nutritious meals to children, and we have some ideas for getting picky eaters to venture outside of their culinary comfort-zone. While no single technique will work for every child, we have found that three popular methods seem to bring the most success.

  1. Be Sneaky

You can sneak veggies into any pasta meal – even macaroni and cheese. Try including one or a combination of the following in your next pasta dish: peas, green beans, carrots, green onions, colorful bell peppers, tomatoes, or mild herbs and spices. This also works well for rice meals, soups, stews, and sauces (with diced or blended additions). Mix small cut apples or other fruits into salads, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes and homemade breads.

The sneaky method is great for children who tend to need repeated exposure to a specific food before embracing it, even if they start off by picking out the additions.

Bonus tip – If you offer an obvious fruit or vegetable with the meal, kids are less likely to suspect you’ve hidden something new in their favorite dishes.

  1. Try Dips

Sometimes kids are more likely to try a new vegetable or fruit when offered with a moderately sweet or creamy dip. Some dips can be iStock_000010835855XSmallhealthy in their own right. Try blending your own vegetable dip using Greek yogurt, or experiment with guacamole or different types of hummus. Serve these with whole grain crackers, baked chips, or raw veggies for a double-win.

Helpful hint – Keep an eye on kids when serving sweet or creamy dips. Sometimes the vegetable becomes simply a vehicle for eating more and more dip, which negates the benefits of eating the new, healthier food.

  1. Offer Choices

Allowing a child to choose from a selection of new vegetables, fruits, or other foods has been a successful method for many parents and caregivers. Mixed vegetable dishes like stir fry or mixed fruit dishes like fruit salad can offer a range of new choices combined with familiar ones. Over time children will become more adventurous if they are allowed to select their own toppings for familiar dishes such as pizza, salad, burritos, tacos, or even sandwiches. Topping options can include:  vegetables, tofu, protein sources, beans, or spices and herbs.

Bonus tip – Encourage kids to try new toppings and additions by eating those items yourself in front of the child.

Do you have a successful method for getting picky eaters to try new foods? We’d love to hear it! Leave a comment below. Together we can help improve a child’s nutritional choices.

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