A handy guide to talk about foods
Kids learn through play and at mealtime it's no different. Engaging in fun, imaginative games is one of the most effective ways to engage a child's imagination and inspire involvement. Below are a few tips to help spark their exploration mode as you're going through the Tiny Food Passport activity!
Use neutral yet descriptive language when talking about the foods. Avoid terms like yummy/yucky and instead discuss the way the foods look, smell and feel.
Encourage your child to be a food “explorer” and truly examine all parts of the food! Is it hard, soft, crunchy, wet, etc.? For older kids, it can be helpful to talk about your five senses and generate a list of descriptive words together beforehand.
Think outside the palate! Ask your child to close their eyes and guess what color the food tastes like. It's surprisingly effective with some super fun color/food combinations.
Follow your child's lead! Children have amazing imaginations and will often come up with creative ways to combine or try new foods on their own. Maybe your child will build a dinosaur out of orange slices or make french fry tacos from sweet potato fries and lettuce. Celebrate however he chooses to interact with the new food!
Avoid power struggles during this activity (or at any point during mealtimes). Research tells us that children are much more likely to try new foods when they do it at their own pace. Instead of telling your child to “just try it” or “take a bite,” model the behavior you’d like to see. I love using “I wonder” statements and thinking aloud when trying new foods with kids. For example, “I wonder which one of these foods makes juice in my mouth when I chew it…” or “I wonder who can make the louder crunch!” Children generally want to participate in these types of challenges, and making a new food sound like an exciting adventure is key!