By introducing new foods to children BEFORE they are sitting at the dinner table you have the opportunity for children to see these foods as old friends instead of a potential dislike.
Here is how you can incorporate new foods into stories and plays that you can create with your child:
When introducing food to children choose one food to focus on at a time. Learn a few key facts about the food – what type of food it is, where it comes from, how it is cooked or prepared, what types of vitamins and minerals are in it, what other foods taste good with it. You can do this on your own for very young kids or have kids help if they are a bit older.
Next give the food to your child. Allow them to feel it, smell it, taste it. Ask them to describe to you what they notice about the food. What color is it? What is it’s texture? Does it have a smell?
Talk with your child about all the neat facts you learned about this food, be enthusiastic and get them excited! Help kids see all the great benefits these foods can give them and how they do great things for their growing bodies.
Once your child is excited about the food and it is familiar to them, work on a project together. This might be a picture book for young children, or a storybook with words for those are slightly older. You could write a song together, or even a play that you can act out for family members. If you have several children you could even do a “Dinner Theater” by putting on the play shortly before a supper that features your star ingredient.
Use your imagination – your setting could be a fairytale or outer space or whatever your child’s favorite place is. It could be the story told from the food’s perspective. Or try telling familiar stories from new perspectives – like telling “Jack and the Beanstalk” from the Beans point of view. Try to incorporate the facts you have learned about the food into whatever art form you choose.
Introducing new and unfamiliar foods to kids when they have a chance to explore and play greatly increases the chance that they will get eaten, it usually takes several introductions to a new food before a child will embrace it. This is a great way to start!
How do you introduce new foods to your children? What challenges do you have trying to get your kids eating a variety of healthy foods? Please share below!