One day I decided to try to sell my kids on the idea of being Food Adventurers. We weren’t going to a new restaurant, we were going on a Food Adventure! We weren’t trying trying new suspicious looking foods, we were having a food adventure!
I’ve found this to be very successful and we continue to use this concept all the time. My kids have not magically turned into little foodies, but I get a lot more buy in from them and using the process I’ve outlined below I have been able to get them to try just about anything. They’ve even found they’ve really liked some things they were pretty sure they weren’t going to like.
Trying New Foods as a Food Adventurer
As a parent, take the pressure off. Expect them to explore and discover the food not necessarily to eat it. We say the steps out loud and I will often do the steps with the kids too.
- Touch it (pick it up, poke it)
- Look at it
- Smell it
- Listen to it
- Lick it
- Bite it
- Chew it
We don’t always get through all the steps but that’s okay. Particularly with foods that they are really resistant to, maybe even having it on their plate is a big deal. Don’t be afraid to try it again another day (again and again and again). Repeated stress-free exposure (and this can be 20 or more times) has been shown to increase acceptance over time.
But sometimes it works right away. Sometimes a food they were worried might be spicy, turns out to be something they love. It’s quick, easy and can be done anywhere.
One time we used this at a barbecue restaurant – we ordered a platter so there was lots of choices and the kids did a food adventure with many meats and sides and they each found a few things that they loved (and a few that they didn’t. It is now one of their favourite restaurants.