University of Illinois Extension

Food for Thought - University of Illinois Extension

Getting Kids to Try New Foods

Every parent knows that some times kids won't eat new foods, but that doesn't mean that they will never eat that food. Kids change their minds often so if you offer that same food again they may decide they like it, gobble it up and ask for seconds.

It is good to encourage a child to try new foods. That's how they develop their taste preferences. Parents shouldn't force children to eat all of a new food, or to clean their plate. A small taste this time may lead to a bigger taste next time.

Here are some tips to get children to try new foods:

  • Have a positive attitude. Serve new foods to your child and expect that they will eventually learn to like them.
  • Don't force your child to eat. Children sometimes do not like to eat food they have never seen before. Keep serving the food to your child. As they become more familiar with it, they may decide to taste it.
  • Let your child help prepare the food. This can be something simple like tearing lettuce for a salad or stirring pancake batter. This will help your child become familiar with the new food. As you prepare it together, you and they can talk about the color, shape, and texture of the food.
  • Serve new foods when your child is hungry. Let the new food be the first thing your child eats. He might not want to try something new if he has already filled up on his favorites.
  • Serve one new food at a time. Don't overwhelm your child by serving a plate full of new foods. Instead, try offering one new food on the plate with familiar foods.
  • Respect your child's food preferences. There may be some foods that your child doesn't like no matter what you try. That's okay. Just be sure to offer your child other foods from the same food group at other meals and snacks.
  • Be a good role model. Eat a new food in front of your child and let them see how much you are enjoying it.

Winter Activity

Looking for an activity for you and your children to get some exercise this winter? Try Flip-Flop, there are many variations and people of all ages can do this.

Have everyone choose a spot. Start by jogging in place. Every 15 to 30 seconds when a signal is given (blow a whistle or ring a bell), everyone drops down, touch their stomachs to the ground, flip over, touch their backs to the ground, then get up and begin jogging again.

For variation, instead of jogging they can skip, hop on one foot, or jump on two feet. Each time they drop to do the Flip-Flop they can do another exercise, like a sit-up, push-up, or toe touches. Let the kids suggest ideas of what they want to do.

This is one way to get a little activity in your life and spend some time together as a family.

Valentine's Day Specials

Make something special for your family for Valentine's Day. Here are some ideas to get you started. Talk to your kids about what they would like to make for this special day. Have them help you make some of these foods.

Rosy Cinnamon Applesauce

1 24-ounce jar unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon cinnamon "red-hot" candies
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine applesauce, candies and cinnamon in medium saucepan. Stir applesauce mixture over medium heat for 3 minutes or until candies are melted. Serve applesauce warm or cover and refrigerate to serve chilled.

Makes 5 1/2-cup servings.

Cherry Cobbler

1 can cherry pie filling
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup margarine
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

For filling: Heat pie filling until bubbly. Put in an 8-inch square or round baking pan.

For topping: Stir together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in margarine till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl stir together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just to moisten.

Using a spoon, drop topping into mounds on top of the filling.

Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes until topping is done.

Makes 6 servings.

Heart Sandwiches

Use a cookie cutter to cut heart shapes from slices of bread. Cover hearts with peanut butter and strawberry jam.