School-aged kids need a wide variety of healthy foods and snacks. The good news is that they are far more likely to be open to new flavors and textures from the age of six onwards- as reported by academics from Stanford Children’s Health. The key to helping your children widen their tastes and develop a more sophisticated palate lies in making a myriad of foods available to them. Rather than obligating them to try a fluffy pilaf, melt-in-the-mouth burrata, or freshly grilled scallop, simply exposing them to various dishes and ingredients is key. Kids are curious, and they eventually ask to taste (and often discover that they enjoy) new delights. If you want to discover more strategies on how to share your love of food with them, read on.

Tips to Grow Love of Food in Children

Cooking Fun Dishes at Home

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Most gourmets will tell you that it pays to know something about ingredients and cooking methods to truly appreciate fine cuisine. Children are more likely to be motivated to expand their palates if they are used to dicing, chopping, peeling, and generally, handling produce. Purchase them cute aprons and chefs’ hats to make the experience more official, and buy them child friendly kitchen equipment such as safe knives, small rolling pins, children’s sized oven mitts, and similar. For younger kids, a cute kids’ oven will have them making treats like muffins and pancakes in no time. Let your children choose what they want to cook, so it doesn’t feel like you are leading the whole activity.

Taking Them Out to Dine

Take your kids to your favorite Italian, Moroccan, or Lebanese restaurant and let the flavors and spices awaken their taste buds. Avoid kids’ menus, which often contain standard fast food items like nuggets and fries. Instead, let them peruse the menu and make their own choices. If they are stumped as to some dishes, use your phone to show pictures of a few dishes so they can choose the dishes that most appeal to them. Don’t just take them to restaurants, but also to food markets, food trucks, stalls, and other places where you can enjoy and share food you don’t normally prepare at home.

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Growing a Garden

Kids get super excited about growing a wide range of vegetables and fruits, ranging from cabbages to tomatoes. Even if you have a tiny outdoor space, make the most of it by growing herbs, chilies, tomatoes, and other produce that does not require too much space. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can grow sprouts in your kitchen. These take just days to grow, do not require soil, and make a great addition to salads, wraps, and soups.

Planning Parties

Make mealtime special by turning weekend meals and breaks into parties and by preparing gourmet soirées alongside them. On a lazy Sunday, instead of offering them a snack indoors, place a wooden table and chairs in the garden, decorate the table with playing cards and flower petals, and surprise your children with a Mad Hatter tea party. Little children go gaga over tea sets, so make sure you use traditional crockery with beautifully painted flowers and other shapes that will fascinate your children. If you are having an early evening barbecue, invite family members or friends and set up a boho-chic table in the garden, gracing your garden with iron candleholders, fairy lights in the trees, and wildflower decorations for the table.

Eating at Home

For social events, ask each child to be involved in food preparation and service. Set up a makeshift bar outside and have them offer guests lemonade, smoothies, and refreshing mocktails. Teach kids to add a touch of magic to everything they make. For instance, if they are making lemonade, ask them to serve it in pretty glasses and to use delicate crushed ice if the party is taking place in the summer. Crush mint leaves alongside them with a mortar and pestle, adding the refreshing concoction to the lemonade. Teach them how to turn ordinary drinks into a stunning pink hue with just a dash of grenadine. You might want to also check on how to clean a mortar and pestle for keeping your food fresh.

Getting your kids excited about food is easy because you have so much great material to work with! From growing your own vegetables to recreating delicious dishes at home and hosting food-focused parties, you can get them interested in cuisine from the ground up. Take them out to your favorite establishments as well, making sure they try delicacies from across the globe.

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