TOP 7 WAYS TO HELP PICKY KIDS EAT MORE FOODS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
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TOP 7 WAYS TO HELP PICKY KIDS EAT MORE FOODS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Let’s face it. There are some children who would eat only noodles and cheese or cereal all day long. These children aren’t known for enjoying a wide variety of foods. This can feel overwhelming if your family plans to travel as often as we do. It’s hard to bring along all their favorites, especially if the country you plan to visit eats very differently from you. There are ways to help picky eaters expand their palates. You want to ensure you always have something simple and perhaps a bit bland for them, and then build on it.

If your child doesn’t enjoy spicy foods, it’s okay to give them milder options of the same thing. You don’t want to start a picky eater off with hot curry, but maybe a mild curry sauce on some noodles would be a good start.

Picky kids eating foreign foods
The kids loved the food in Myanmar, finished it off before I could take a photo.

When you are at home, cooking on the grill, in the oven or on your favorite ceramic cookware, or you’re at a restaurant, you want to make sure they see a little bit of everything on their plate. Some children do not like their food to touch, which is okay. You can still respect that need and put a small dollop of everything from your dinner onto their plate. This helps them see and experience the food, even if they will only eat one thing off of it.

2. LET KIDS PLAY WITH THEIR FOOD

While you may not want them to throw their food. It’s okay if they mess with their food on their plate with their utensils. They do not need to eat everything, but it can be fun to make silly pictures using food. You want to make sure that mealtimes, especially when you introduce something new, are enjoyable.

Besides eating with your hands is very common is many countries, India it’s the norm!

3. DON'T HIDE INGREDIENTS

It may be tempting to lie about what’s in a dish. But it is important to tell children what’s in their food. Make it sound delicious and exciting, but don’t tell them the food is something it’s not.

Picky kids eating foreign foods
Somethings will be very different for kids like this seafood bento box we had in Japan.

4. LET CHILDREN HELP COOK

By cooking and preparing the meal, children are more likely to be curious about what they are making. This may lead them to try a little bite of something new and expand their taste buds. They may accidentally get something on their fingers and without thinking about it, simply lick it off.

5. EAT TOGETHER

Meal-time should be social. Eat your family meals together and invite people over on occasion. Perhaps your child has a friend who will eat anything. Invite that friend over to enjoy a meal with your family. By watching their friend eat the new things in front of them, it may encourage your child to do the same.

Picky kids eating foreign foods
Floating markets in Bangkok are a good way to get kids to try new things while doing something fun

6. TRY AGAIN & AGAIN

Maybe the first few times you introduced a new food at home or a restaurant didn’t work. Your child wouldn’t touch it. But maybe by the fifth or sixth time he or she would. Don’t give up, instead try again. Kids are often hesitant to try new things, but by introducing it multiple times, they may become more familiar with how it looks and smells. Don’t force it, and don’t get angry if they refuse. It is important to stay calm but keep gently trying to expand your picky child’s food choices.

7. DON'T LET THEIR PICKINESS DISSUADE YOU FROM TRAVELLING

Your picky eater may survive on rice or noodles for a week or two while you’re on a trip, but they will survive. Just because they don’t like to eat a wide variety of foods doesn’t mean you can’t travel. Go anyway. Let them see new foods in a new country. With everyone eating the same things wherever you go, you may be surprised by them. They could take a lick of something new or even a bite. The key is to continue exposing them to new things and don’t give up.

Picky kids eating foreign foods
Our kids favourite when travelling in Asia - dumplings!

Travelling with a picky child can feel daunting. Not knowing what they will eat when you get to your destination is quite scary. But the truth is, even the pickiest eater can find something to eat, even if it’s simply rice, noodles, a banana or other piece of fruit.

Last but not least, no kids will starve if there is food in front of them. I’ve always worked on theory that if they are hungry enough they give it a crack and its worked well for us. 

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