My two kids could not be more different in their approach to food or in their tastes.
My daughter has always been adventurous, trying anything we offered her with few exceptions. My son has been more cautious and hesitant to try anything new.
One of our strategies to get both kids to expand their tastes more was to get them more involved in their food.
From the ground up, so to speak. We figured that if they were more involved and invested in the process, they would understand and appreciate food more.
Here are the things we’ve tried and had success with:
1. Working in the garden.
We always plant a decent sized garden, and each year the kids pick two or three veggies to plant and tend to themselves. Kids love to see something grow from a seed or tiny plant to something edible. It’s like magic. When our children nourish and care for their own veggies, they are really excited to harvest and eat them. And you don’t have to have a big space to garden, you can always use containers to grow things like tomatoes and peppers.
2. Watch kid’s cooking shows.
Seeing kids their own age on cooking shows is inspirational. Hey, if that girl can make a perfect French omelet, why can’t I??
3. Look through recipes together.
Cookbooks, magazines, wherever you get inspiration for the kitchen. Take things you know your child likes and build upon it. Do they like mac and cheese? Then how about trying a new kind of pasta?
4. Don’t be afraid of a mess.
Teaching them to cook will literally mean cracking a few eggs. And they will make a mess. But that’s ok! Practice makes perfect. You have to relax your standards a bit. When they learned how to walk, you didn’t freak out when they fell, did you?
5. Raddish Kids: My secret weapon.
Several months ago we signed up for Raddish Kids, a monthly kids culinary club subscription. It’s amazing! Each month the kids get a delivery of a themed cooking kit: three recipes with grocery lists, a new kitchen tool, lesson plans, cards with dinner conversation topics- even a Spotify playlist to listen to while we cook! It is user-friendly, easy to follow, and a really fun project to work on with the kids.
6. Finally, and most importantly, don’t give up.
Sometimes it just won’t work. That’s ok! Keep trying. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a kid’s love of cooking. If you stick with it you can foster your child’s interest and passion for food.