Do you have one or more kids that tend to eat the same five foods over and over and over? Is it challenging to get your kids to try new foods? If so, join the club! My kids are now 13 and 11, and for years they have tried just about any food I put in front of them (but it wasn’t always like that!). Want to know my secret?
TNFT! Translation: Try New Food Tuesdays!
I’ve been doing this for 10 year. Every Tuesday I prepare three small portions of new foods, and say “ok … it’s TNFT … which one will you try today?” And do you know what? They always tried one! The reason? I gave them the control. My kids had a choice and because of that one small detail they always picked one new food to try and it was fun! Even when their cousins or friends ate with us, TNFT worked on them as well.
Connor and Samantha may not have ended up liking everything they tasted BUT they tried it. As the time went on, sometimes they would try two or even all three foods. They enjoyed giving me their feedback about each food, and by “accident” along the way they found new foods to enjoy or even love!
By the age of 8 or 9, my daughter’s hands-down favorite food was sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon — a dish she not only would ask for specifically but also knew how to make herself! Lately, likes have been a citrus kale salad with pepitas, blackened grouper, buffalo cauliflower, beef pho, and beef brisket. (Confession: when the kids were younger, “Tuesday” came more than once a week … shhh!)
Once my kids were used to trying a new-to-them food weekly, they became interested in tasting various dishes independently. Now they are both adventurous eaters trying just about anything offered, and even going for interesting choices when dining out. To tell you the truth, they’ve become more open-minded than me when it comes to food!
Here are some tips I learned along the way:
- Let your kids know that you will be starting TNFT. Gain their buy-in.
- Have them circle “Tuesday” on your kitchen calendar and write TNFT in fun bold colors!
- Offer three different foods, and have them agree to try at least one.
- It doesn’t have to be fancy.
- Make small portions.
- Become a part of it yourself.
- Ask for their feedback (how did they like what they tried?).
- Ask them for future food ideas, or even bring them with on a grocery trip.
Food Ideas: Cut up a fruit they have yet to try, raw veggies, sautéed veggies, or a small portion of what you made yourself that night.More On