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Parenting Hack: How to Get Your Kid to Eat Almost Anything

how-to-get-your-kids-to-eat-anything

I’m a foodie, my husband is a foodie. Our nights consist of us playing DVR catch up watching food related shows, I subscribe to at least four food related magazines and we are food bloggers with over 23,000 followers on Instagram. So when I say we are foodies, I really mean it.

Even our kids (Evelyn 6 and Penny 2) are foodies. Or at least, both of them were, but somewhere in the last year or so Evelyn has grown an opinion of her own (how dare she!) and has decided that she “doesn’t like” foods that look unfamiliar to her despite the fact she has never tried them. Typical kid behavior but since we are always out trying new spots, this posed a big problem. I will never force her to eat new foods but when we are at a restaurant that doesn’t serve her trusted foods, she would decide to go without eating over trying something new. Or even worse, food totally wasted because her pasta was served with something green or her chicken had a sauce on it. Oh the horror!

I get it though-I’m a reformed picky eater myself and trying new things was tough for me. I would beg and plead for her to, “just take one bite!” knowing if she did the entire meal would be eaten but she just wouldn’t. Part stubbornness and control on her part, and part her not ready to go out of comfort zone.

One day at dinner while her garlic chicken was getting cold I heard a kid at the table next to us watching a YouTube video and heard the tell tale sign of a review video, “Hey guys! This is Amy Jo and today I’m going to do a baby food challenge” and I had a stroke of what I consider to be a genius parenting hack.

“Hey Evelyn! I have an idea-why don’t we make a challenge video like they do on YouTube of you trying new foods. Then you can give a review of if you like it or don’t, that way other kids know what you think of it!”

Evelyn immediately beamed at the idea as I pulled out my cell phone and gave her the thumbs up to indicate the recording had started. The response was exactly what I had hoped for-she loved her chicken and ate the entire dish.

Since then I haven’t had trouble over getting her to try new things, she is always excited to make a new video of her trying things. Not everything is a hit with her, and that is ok, the important thing for me is that she isn’t judging the book for the cover and genuinely tasting it to see if it is something she likes or not.

Do you have a picky eater? What other tips or tricks do you use to get your kids to try new foods? While this works for Evelyn now, technology is always changing and the YouTube challenges may not be around when Penny decides to have a mind of her own so I’m always up for learning new ideas!

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3 Responses to Parenting Hack: How to Get Your Kid to Eat Almost Anything

  1. Stephanie G October 3, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    I need a parenting hack for getting a toddler (15 mos) to try new foods. The advice I’ve received is trial & error. What’s frustrating is that he eats well at daycare (home-cooked lunches, including veggies) but on the weekends it’s all I can do get him to eat our food. When he refuses, we want him to eat something so we resort to PB sandwiches, chicken tenders, or mac & cheese with fruit. (He loves fruit & sweet potatoes.) Any thoughts?

    • Cassidy
      Cassidy October 8, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

      Toddlers are tough Stephanie! I have a two year old and she is a hit or miss on techniques but the fact that he eats well at daycare indicates to me it’s a power struggle with you-and for those I don’t even attempt to try and overrule those.

      Honestly, and I’m no expert this is just what we do in our home, I make sure we have one thing I know she will eat (and will provide a bit of nutrients-sweet potatoes are a great option) and then keep offering other options. I do let my kids snack after dinner if they didn’t eat much because they “didn’t like it” but it was to be a healthy snack-celery, carrots, homemade popcorn.

      If anything-this truly is just a phase!

  2. CJ Redding February 6, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    I have a 9 month old, so we’re not doing this yet. But, my Papa did this with my mom, and my mom did it with me and it got me to try all sorts of new foods.
    At a restaurant, my mom would encourage me to pick anything off the menu, anything at all. And she would order something for herself she knew I liked. Usually something basic, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken tenders, etc. If when my meal came, I didn’t like it, I could always switch, but I had to try it first before I switched. That way I could dare to try something different, but there wasn’t much risk.
    I almost always loved what I picked out, and my poor mom ate kind of ‘boring’ for years, but it was totally worth it for her that I got excited about trying lots of different foods.

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