Cooking with Kids: Tips for Getting Your Kids to Try New Things (and Are You Going to BlogHer ’10?)

| July 19, 2010 | 5 Comments

I'm speakingWhen the email arrived months ago asking if I would speak at the annual BlogHer Conference in August, I answered a quick yes. The topic, Family Foodies: Raising a New Generation of Gourmands, couldn’t be more perfect for me. It’s everything I am passionate about: cooking good, healthy, budget-friendly meals that my whole family will eat.

In fact, I answered yes before I figured out the details of how I would manage to steal away for a few days sans kids.

Every time I think about the panel, I smile. I am speaking with two great food-blogging moms: Stefania from CityMama and Danielle from Foodmomiac. We spoke a few weeks ago about our perspectives and ideas about raising kids who eat well. I couldn’t help but feel a connection to these women as our perspectives aligned.

It’s sure to be a great panel. If you are headed to BlogHer, plan to drop in and listen!

In the meantime, I am hard at work preparing for the panel. I’ve been thinking hard about why my kids will try pretty much anything and why their food interests are so ranging. Here are five things I do, that you can too.

5 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Try New Things

  1. Let them touch it. Look, we all were taught not to play with our food, but seriously sometimes getting wrist deep in dough or getting all touchy-feely with a veggie can be great for kids. It really helps them open up to foods they haven’t tried before.
  2. Let them help you. Like #1, getting kids involved in the cooking process really helps kids to open up to new foods. Sure, a completed loaf of Zucchini Bread might be a little intimidating, but if you see if go from simple ingredients like zucchini, flour, sugar and oil to a loaf, then it’s not so much.
  3. Show them where it comes from. If you live near a farm, it’s an awesome adventure for kids to see where their food comes from. Call ahead and the farmer may even let your kids walk through the crops and see peppers still on the plant and tomatoes ripening on the vine. Or, you can also take your kids to local Pick-Your-Own fields to experience harvesting first-hand.
  4. Don’t assume they won’t like it. It does kids a great disservice if you just up and assume that they aren’t going to enjoy something. Kids are surprising and if you approach new foods with the belief that the idea that it could be their new favorite food, then they are more likely to want to at least taste it.
  5. Don’t expect them to scarf it the first time. All it takes is one bite. Maybe it will be an insta-hit. Maybe they will tolerate it. Either way, eating just one bite of an unfamiliar food is a big step towards being open to trying new things. Plus, but requiring just one bite, you create an eating culture that encourages being adventurous.

And hey, readers, are you going to BlogHer ’10 in New York next month? Let me know in the comments if you will be there. I would love to meet and speak to you in person!

Category: Cooking with Kids, Raising Healthy Kids

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a freelance writer, editor and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in countless online and print publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Connecticut with her two kids, two beagles and husband.

Comments (5)

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  1. I wish we were! But we WILL be at BlogHer FOOD in San Fran, in October. Are you going to that one too?

  2. Sherry says:

    My son introduces all kinds of foods to my grandson Levi. Levi has a very broad palate and is already adventurous with food. I suppose it all comes from observing and letting him get ‘into’ his food at a very early age.

  3. Donna says:

    I have never even HEARD of cooking radishes. Must try these. Thanks for such a unique recipe!

  4. Margy says:

    Finally scrolled through my BlogHer conference materials and can’t wait to attend your session on family foodies. My blog also focuses on cooking with/for family and it will be great to meet and hear from others that are like-minded. And so happy to discover your blog!

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