Does this sound familiar? You've prepared a well-balanced, nutritious meal for your kids. The table is set and dinner is served. You're ready for a peaceful, pleasant dinner when you hear: "Yuck. I don't like this."
Yep, we've all been there.
For a long time, my own kids wouldn't touch a vegetable and there was only one type of bread my oldest would eat — and it had to be frozen.
As with many new things or ideas I wish to introduce to my kids, I turn to books for help. This list of read-alouds for picky eaters will help make it much more palatable for your kids to try new foods.
1. Little ones can explore new fare in My Favorite Food. This is a fun board book to take to the supermarket. As you push your child in the cart, prompt him to look for groceries from the book in different sections of the store. Then, each week he can select a new food to try.
2. There's something to be said for playing with our food. I've found that if I arrange fruit in a creative pattern on a plate, my kids are more likely to have a taste of everything served. Now I Eat My ABC's by Pam Abrams is a creative alphabet book that uses different edibles to make each letter of the alphabet. Your kids will be inspired to create their own food letters.
3. One of my all-time favorite books about picky eating is Gregory, The Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat. Gregory is a goat, but he's not your typical goat who likes old shoes and boxes. He prefers fruits and veggies. Will Dr. Ram be able to help Gregory?
4. Children's cookbooks are a hands-on invitation for kids to discover new flavors. Often, if kids help prepare their cuisine, they're more likely to have a bite (or more!). With your child, dig into Kids Cooking by Klutz for some sweet and savory ideas to inspire your cooking sessions. You might test out a recipe that you're sure will be a hit, and pair it with a dish that offers a new ingredient or texture. For example, make a yummy Razzle-Dazzle Smoothie and serve it alongside a newer dish, such as Hoorah for Hummus.
5. Has your child ever been hangry? That combo of being so hungry you're just grumpy and angry? Well, that's how Bird is feeling in Hungry Bird by Jeremy Tankard. This is a great book to use to talk about our feelings with respect to nourishment and being hungry.
6. You probably remember the classic Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Sam-I-Am thinks that his plate of green eggs and ham can be enjoyed here, there, and everywhere. I often feel like Sam-I-Am when talking my kids into having a mouthful of something new. Kids will see the humor in simply sampling new grub.
7. It's also been said that if kids grow some of their meal, they'll be more willing to sample it. Your kids will be inspired to start a vegetable garden after reading the comical tale Jack and the Beanstalk and the French Fries by Mark Teague. In the story, Jack and the giant start a vegetable garden full of tomatoes, corn, carrots, and potatoes.
Baby steps and patience are needed when helping kids branch out to experience new eats. Sprinkle a few of these book suggestions into your child's reading list so you can both relish the journey of expanding his palate!
Connect with Jodie at Growing Book by Book.