Making a meal that everyone in your family will love can be a challenge. Sometimes we moms hit it out of the park and our children think we’re the Dinner Diva. Sometimes we strike out royally and they crown us the Dinner Dud!
Here are a few tips on how to help your kids try new things.
Use foods you know your child likes
If pasta is always a winner in your house the variety can come in the form of sauces like garlic Alfredo, roasted red pepper and tomato, or something as simple as butter and Parmesan cheese.
You might also be able to get away with adding zucchini or spinach to your rice casserole as long as you cut the vegetables up in bite size pieces and the seasonings are something your children are used to.
Consider offering condiments that they love with meals that you might not normally like ketchup, sour cream, ranch dressing, or barbecue sauce. You can even make sure that your side dish or bread is something you know that they will love to offset the new dish.
Let them play an active role in cooking
Have your kiddos scour the Internet or your cookbooks and pick what they’d like to make. Children usually choose what looks appealing to them which will make them more likely to eat it.
Allow your children to assist you in cooking the meal. This will get them used to the cooking process as well as the satisfaction that comes from preparing a dish from start to finish. They will be proud of their accomplishment and be happy to serve it to the entire family.
You can also let them name the different dishes you venture out in making. My girls named one of my made up recipes years ago because they were tired of calling it noodles with the white sauce. Instead they donned it “Special Creation.” It’s hilarious to me but they love it and I make it often.
Avoid bringing attention to new ingredients
Announcing that you made mock meatloaf with nuts, rice, and carrots will not go over well. PB&J sandwiches will soon follow. Trust me.
Gradually add more and more things once their palate changes. You do not want to scare them off from trying too many new things at once so go slow.
I suggest one or two new things a week to start. If you do too much too soon your children will be suspicious of anything you try to feed them in the future and less likely to try anything you put in front of them.
Work on not making this process difficult and tiresome. Sometimes your children will love a recipe that you experimented with and sometimes they will look at you like you’ve lost your mind. If they whisper among themselves at the bomb you just served them and called dinner, don’t let it discourage you.
Keep trying to add your own flair to the foods you want your family to try and you may just end up with a family favorite!