Picky Eating: 10 Fun Tips to Get Kids to Try New Foods

happy family eating a healthy dinner

Does your child say no to new foods? Getting your child to try something new can be frustrating. It can make mealtimes stressful for you, your child and the rest of the family. Try these ideas to get your child more interested in trying new foods.

  1. Get your kids involved in the kitchen. Children can wash fruit and vegetables, tear lettuce, mix batter or push the buttons on the microwave. Help your child if they are too young to do these tasks on their own. Read this article for more ideas on how to get children involved in the kitchen. 
  2. Work together. Children can set the table and take the family’s drink “orders” to help prepare for mealtime. Get the whole family to work together.
  3. Try gardening. Plant a garden and watch it grow! Good starter vegetables are carrots, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, radishes, peas and onions. Herbs can be grown indoors during winter months and don’t require much space. 
  4. Plan together. Involve your kids in the meal planning process. Let them help choose a nutritious meal once a week. Print this menu planning worksheet to get started.
  5. Get creative. Present foods in creative ways. Cut sandwiches into fun shapes with a knife or cookie cutter. Try these fruit kebabs – kids can have fun choosing the fruit to include. 
  6. Try kid-approved recipes. Try these nutritious and fun kid-approved recipes from our Kids Recipe Challenge.
  7. Have a dinner theme night. Choose dishes that come from different parts of the world. Try MexicanChineseAfrican, CaribbeanIndianItalianThai or Middle Eastern.
  8. Learn through games and activities. Play games and do activities to learn about food. Put mystery foods in a paper bag and guess which foods they are by feeling or smelling them. Get your child to draw their own place mat with their favourite foods or solve funny riddles.  
  9. Go on a field trip! Take an adventure to the pumpkin patch, a corn maze or your local farmer’s market. Even a grocery store in a different neighbourhood might have new vegetables and fruit to learn about. See what your family can discover!
  10. Make it fun! Have nights where you have breakfast for dinner; make your own pizza night; or build your own yogurt sundae bar. 

How can a dietitian help?

dietitian will make sure your child is getting important nutrients like protein, fibre, iron and calcium that your child needs to grow and be healthy. Your dietitian will make suggestions on how to boost the nutrition of the foods your child is already eating and give you a plan on how to introduce new ones. They can also help you plan balanced school lunches and help you with reading labels. Connect with a dietitian today

Bottom line

Having fun with food is a great way to encourage children to try new foods. Pick one of these tips every week to incorporate into your family’s meal routine. 

You may also be interested in: 

Say Goodbye to Picky Eating!
Picky Eaters Commonly Asked Questions
How can I Find a Dietitian Near Me?
This article was written and reviewed by dietitians from Dietitians of Canada. The advice in this article is intended as general information and should not replace advice given by your dietitian or healthcare provider. 

Last Update – June 20, 2022

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