Get Cooking! Exploring Food with Children
There are times when our children get stuck in their ways and will only eat certain foods, refusing to try others. Sometimes, it isn’t even a matter of like or dislike, but rather a matter of disinterest, or an uncertainty for how it will taste. This can leave us feeling a little bit stuck, wondering, “How can we get our kids to try new foods?”
Not to worry though, because health educator Lisa Barnes shares with us a little secret: food exploration! Taking our kids on a food adventure can be a fun and effective way to get our children excited about learning and experiencing new food.
Going to the Grocery Store
If we think about it, the produce aisle could look just as appetizing as the candy aisle. It has every shape, size, and color you can think of! So the next time we take our little ones to the store, we should really consider it an adventure. Hand the produce sack over to your kids and let them each pick out one fruit and vegetable that they think looks cool, interesting, and adventuresome. (They will be so excited to eat their hand-picked fruits and vegetables!)
Upon returning from your voyage at the store, take a food item that your child has chosen and research it. How does it grow? Where does it grow? How do we prepare it? The more our kids learn about a food, the more interesting it then becomes to experiment with.
Any time we can, we should always take the opportunity to let our children prepare a meal with us; it goes hand in hand with learning about foods. The more involved they become, the more effort and pride they personally put into making a meal, the more likely they are to at least try, if not enjoy, it. So, the next time you draw a blank on what to make for dinner, let your child choose a recipe.
Explore foods by experimenting with smoothies. With our kids, we can cut up an assortment of fruits, like apples, berries, spinach, and yogurt, and blend them in a blender to make shakes. Keep track of which combinations make favorite concoctions! Not only is it fun to test the results of the experiments, but this is a great way to sneak extra servings of nutrition into your children.
When there is something that your kids just flat out will not eat, give it a little transformation. For example, turnips and cauliflower both share a similar color to potatoes; so if you know that your children will eat mashed potatoes for dinner, throw a few handfuls of chopped turnips and cauliflower into the pot with the boiling potatoes, mash them all together, and serve!
As important as nutrition is, we do not want to always fight our kids to eat the good stuff; we just want them to accept it, right? It isn’t always easy, but we can make it fun! Good luck on your next exciting food exploration!