Do you struggle with getting your kids to try new foods? Is meal time a battle, begging your child to “just take one bite” and try the new food?
I feel you! This use to be me and my house when my youngest was little. Dinner often ended in tears with either me or my daughter crying. Not a fun way to end the day.
Does the “no thank you bite” work in your house? For those unfamiliar with the “no thank you bite,” children are expected to try one bite of the new food. After they try a bite, they can say “no thank you,” if they don’t wish to eat anymore of that particular food.
The “no thank you bite” worked like a charm with my oldest daughter. I’d ask her to take one bite, and she would. It was amazing! Then I had baby number two and things that use to work with my first daughter, didn’t work anymore. I was at a loss. Thankfully after a lot of reading and experimentation, I found a new approach that worked!
Instead of telling my girls to take one bite, I now say, “I want to know what you rate it.”
This approach takes the pressure off children to try the new food and turns it into a fun game. I love to get the whole family involved, rating new foods together. Check out and download our Taste-O-Meter. It is a great tool to have to help assist in the rating game. I recommend printing it out and keeping it on your fridge as a reminder to keep things fun and light!
When I first started this method, I kept a piece of paper on the fridge and every time my daughter rated a new food, we would write the food down along with the rating she gave it, on a scale of 1 to 10. For younger children, I recommend the thumbs up, thumbs to the side, or thumbs down rating system. Then, once she tried 5 new foods, she earned a small reward. We came up with some ideas together like choosing 10 minutes on the IPAD, a special craft with mom or dad, baking a favorite recipe together, or staying up 10 minutes past bedtime. If you are looking for some nutritious and delicious recipes to make with your child, take a look at our Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins or Spinach Chocolate Chip Muffins.
This incentive worked like a charm for her. She was excited to track all the new foods she tried and earn a reward. As she discovered new foods she liked, we created a separate list. It was fun to see the list slowly grow, as she continued to try more and more foods on her terms.
My girls are now 10 and 7. Although we still rate our food, because it is fun, we no longer need the reward, as it has become habit. Although my girls are still hesitant to try certain foods on occasion, I always encourage them to rate the new food, but it is not mandatory. If they don’t want to try, we move on. There is no loss of dessert or other consequence.
As a mom, I like to focus on creating healthy habits that will last a life time. Encouraging my girls to try new foods, and continue to expand their tastes and become more curious about food is something I always have in the back of my mind, as the goal.
I want my girls to have a healthy, well rounded, adventurous palate. This takes time. I like to remind myself and the families I work with that “slow and steady wins the race.” Creating healthy habits that will last a lifetime is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you are struggling in the “picky eating” department, I feel you. Feeding our children is not an easy task. One that takes time, patience, and experimentation. My number one tip with “picky eaters” is getting them involved in the kitchen. Getting kids in the kitchen helps them to develop important life skills, while trying new foods, and expanding their tastes to appreciate real food. These crucial skills will allow them to feel empowered to create healthy eating habits for a lifetime.
Want help getting your kids in the kitchen? I offer “Kids in the Kitchen with Misa” virtual cooking classes via zoom. We have fun making nutrient-dense, gluten-free foods that taste good and are good for us.
Hope to see you in the kitchen soon. Give the “Rate it” game a try and download the Taste-O-Meter today! I’d love to hear how it goes.
Cheers to a lifetime of health!