Can You Win the New Food Battle With Kids?

Posted Posted by Lana the Iguana in Articles & Inspiration, Tips,Tricks & Best Practices     Comments 2 comments

By Sofia Horvath, Master Facilitator and Mother of 3

The answer is: yes!

As a mom of three young children, I can easily relate to the food issues/battles/frustrations/whatever-you-want-to-call-it that so many other parents have. I have carefully watched my child out of the corner of my eye, looking to see if today will be the day that she does not spit egg out. Or if I have successfully disguised it enough to get her to consume it. I have slaved over what I thought would be a slam-dunk winning dinner (because it was something that had previously been a hit) only to have two out of the three kids decide they didn’t like it that day. And I have sat there when my 2-year-old pushed her plate away, declaring, “I don’t like it.”—before even looking to see what it was!

I’ve been there. I have traveled that road. I don’t think anyone caring for kids can avoid it.

However, despite their occasional resistance, I’m lucky to have three kids who eat a variety of foods, many of which include fruits and vegetables. So instead of dwelling on the failures and frustrations, I would like to celebrate the successes and share the (mostly) tried and true tricks I use to introduce new and healthy foods to my kids.

  1. Get them while they are hungry. You know that half hour right before dinner when the kids are at their crabbiest and begging for a snack, and you are trying desperately to throw dinner together as fast as you can without losing your mind? THAT’S IT! That is the moment! Take that moment to put out a plate of chopped up veggies and some hummus or guacamole. Don’t make a big production of it or try too hard. Just put it on the table and walk away. It looks pretty, the kids think they are getting away with eating right before dinner, and they will be eating something healthy, and (perhaps more importantly) they will be quiet and leave you alone.
  2. Don’t serve the new food with “competing” foods. If you try tip #1, but throw out some chips with the guacamole, you might as well bring the veggies right back into the kitchen. Of course, there are the kids that would choose the veggies over chips, but mine wouldn’t and I know they’re not alone.
  3. Let them help you pick out a new food or vegetable to try. Take a family trip to the grocery store. Ask the child to pick out something (from the produce section!) that they would like to try. If it is something you know how to prepare, awesome. If not? Google it, and enjoy the adventure of preparing bok choy, or kale, or whatever interesting thing they have chosen. It might be something new for all of you (and then you will be that much more informed when watching Top Chef).
  4. Have them help you prepare it. This could be as simple as putting cherry tomatoes on skewers or mixing something in a bowl. Give them the ingredients/meal components, a butter knife and tell them to come up with their own dinner. It is borderline ridiculous what my kids will eat if they had a hand in making it. I have seen my child dip tomatoes into yogurt and declare it delicious just because she came up with the idea herself.


Do my kids always eat what’s on their plate? No. But they do recognize that new foods can be fun and taste good. And in the back of my head, I am already counting on the wonderful meals they will serve me as they grow up to be accomplished chefs.

2 Comments to “Can You Win the New Food Battle With Kids?”

  • The great news is that my children don’t have any issues eating their vegetables. I was shocked the other night when one of my kids asked for seconds on broccoli….then thirds. I’m not complaining there! Sometimes though, the vegetables and fruits are all they want to eat. All the other food is left there on the plate.

    • That is great news, Jeff! Certainly not the worst problem in the world 🙂 How do they do with protein? What do they like/not like?

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