My kids are not into trying new foods.
When they were toddlers, I was able to get my kids to try new foods all the time. It was either because they didn’t know better or they didn’t have much of a choice. Now that my children are 8 and 9 years old, they are incredibly picky. They will only buy lunch on pizza day at school; everything else is too “exotic.” The rest of the week, I’m forced to pack lunches that my kids may or may not even eat. One day, they will like a certain food and the next day, they hate it. There are many nights when I make one dinner for me and my husband and serve buttered pasta to my children just so they will actually eat. I do serve vegetables and fruit with the pasta, but making two meals still feels like giving up. I’m so frustrated. As a result, I have made my New Year’s resolution to get my kids to try new foods in 2020.
I want to remain realistic about my goals.
School lunches are already rough, so I’m going to stick with whatever works on that front. My main focus will be on dinners. To be completely honest, my focus will actually be on weekend dinners. Between working and shuttling everyone around to after-school activities, I don’t usually have a ton of time for experimenting with new recipes during the week. If I get too ambitious, I will just get frustrated and quickly give up. On busy weeks, my plan is to just introduce different fruits. In general, my kids like fruit, so I can usually get them to at least try a variety of options. Vegetables and entrees are usually harder sells. My kids are wary of foods that are mixed together, so casseroles or even lasagna do not go over well in my house.
In an effort to get my kids to try new foods, I bought some new cookbooks.
I’m most excited about The Colorful Family Table Cookbook. It’s full of healthy recipes that are designed for the entire family to eat together. While I’m not vegan, I do try to focus my meals on fruits and vegetables, so I am willing to try all the vegan recipes in this cookbook. It’s also easy to substitute dairy milk and cheese for the nondairy options called for in vegan recipes. I’m hoping that inviting my kids to help cook dinner will also make them more likely to try what they created. Also, I’m willing to let my children look through my cookbooks and pick out a recipe they would like to try. This tactic has worked great for cookies so far, but I’m hoping that the success will also translate over to dinners. In the summer, I will let my kids pick out vegetables to grow in our small garden. I’m hoping that if they choose and water the plants, they will be more willing to try the vegetables we produce at the end of the season.
To spark some excitement about new foods, I plan to visit an international market with my children.
I’m hoping the novelty of it all will encourage them to try new foods. I plan to start small and have them try cookies from other countries. Since my kids are bound to like cookies, this should encourage them to branch out and try some other new foods. The market I visited has great prices on spices, so I will try adding different spices to familiar dishes, such as chicken, to introduce new flavors. My kids also have classmates who hail from other countries. I’m hoping this personal connection will get them excited to try the cuisine of those countries. At the very least, I am looking forward to trying some new things!
I’m also going to be a tougher parent.
My kids are 8 and 9 years old. That’s old enough for me to stop coddling them. Sometimes they will just have to eat things that they don’t particularly like. While I’m willing to keep their favorite foods in the meal rotation, they also need to branch out sometimes. For example, last night I had either chili or leftover lasagna available for dinner. My son didn’t want either of those choices, but I told him that those were the only options. I wasn’t willing to make something separate just for him. He eventually agreed to the chili and then ended up eating the entire serving. My son would never have eaten the chili if I hadn’t pushed him out of his comfort zone. Now I just need to get the grandparents on board with this plan!