Is your kid the chicken-nuggets-mac-and-cheese-every-night type?
Well, if Andrew Zimmern, the James Beard Award-winning host of the Travel Channel's “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” and author of a new book “Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Foods: An Intrepid Eater's Digest" (Feiwell & Friends; $19.99) can eat roaches, brains and fermented cucumber, then for sure he can get your kids to try new foods.
Here, Zimmern, father to son Noah, offers creative ways to get your children to acquire a taste for new foods:
1. Offer children a choice of meals. You can say something like “Would you like salmon tonight or chicken?” That way they have to make a positive choice and they can own it. “This works for us,” Zimmern said. “If I ask Noah 'what would you like for dinner?,' he always says candy, but if I give him a choice he always responds well to trying it.”
2. Take the kids to the supermarket. “We always make sure to take him along for grocery shopping once a week at minimum because we can menu plan with him and he feels like he has ownership of meals,” he said. “You can say things like, 'pick out a green, leafy vegetable' and then follow up is easy, 'how should we make it, with lemon and olive oil or with ginger and scallions?' This really works!”
3. Always have children help with cooking. “Even when he was two, I would have him stir something or mix a few ingredients,” Zimmern said. “If kids help cook, they always eat well.”
4. Never give alternate foods at meals. Dinner is dinner. “If we make pork chops, Noah eats them,” he said. “We don’t do nuggets or hot dogs as a kid alternate. America is the only nation in world that thinks kids aren’t young adults. Think about it, in Japan babies eat fish! Letting children dictate meal time terms can be a recipe for disaster.”
Be sure to check back tomorrow for a special recipe Zimmern prepares for his son.