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Bean Appetit!: How to help your kids try new tastes!

 

Does your child cringe at cauliflower? Shudder at spinach?

 

If your kiddo is addicted to the same five foods and it’s driving you crazy, read on. Bean Sprouts is here to give you fresh and easy ideas on how to introduce new tastes to your youngster.

 

Strategy #1: Start the Name Game

Studies have found that your kids are 30 percent more likely to try a food if it has a cool name. That’s the key here, the name has to be cool. Use sound effects, body language, whatever you can to make it appealing. “Squishy Shazam” with a big magician-type hand gesture over a baked squash casserole beats “Heart Smart Squash” any day.

 

We recommend making the most of your child’s favorite licensed characters. If Thomas the Tank Engine is a hit in your household, incorporate the trains’ names, such as ”Percy’s Pesto Pizza,” and the odds greatly increase that he’ll take a bite.

 

Strategy #2: Find Your Artistic Side

Get creative when it comes to presentation, and when possible, let your child be the artist. For example, instead of chicken and vegetables, offer your child some baked tortilla chips to make a Taco Tower. Let her stack the chicken and veggies on one chip, top it with another, and continue building until all the ingredients are used up. Then it’s time to eat!

 

It doesn’t have to be fancy schmancy Pinterest-type styling. Just 20 extra seconds of creativity can go a long way.

 

Strategy #3: Help Your Child Take Ownership

When your child has some power in making decisions about meals, he is more likely to test new waters. One obvious way is to let him help with the cooking. Challenge him to figure out a dinner where each dish starts with the letter R. Or a dinner where every dish is green.

 

Strategy #4: Try Not To Filter

We see this all the time in our cafe--a family walks in and despite the fact that we have all sorts of food on our family menu, the parent asks the child, “Would you like a grilled cheese or cheese pizza?”

 

Parents do a great job of filtering what they believe their children will or won’t like. And then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you’ve never given your child Indian food, she ends up not liking Indian food. Or because you assume your baby won’t eat any baby food with flavor, she grows up preferring bland tasting food.

 

We purposefully populate our kids’ menu with food photos so children are empowered to make their own choices. It’s so delightful to see a child pick our Crocamole (avocado hummus with veggie dippers) while the parent seems somewhat hesitant only to find out their child devours our Croc. We included the recipe below which can also be found in our new cookbook, Bean Sprouts Kitchen (available on Amazon.com and in Kidspace).

 

Try these simple strategies in your kitchen to turn even the pickiest of eaters into future foodies!

 

Crocamole

This croc pot is delightful for dipping veggies.

 

1 avocado, sliced in half lengthwise

½ cup (113 g) hummus

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4 zucchini rounds, plus more for dipping

4 olive slices

14 matchstick carrots Other favorite veggies for dipping, such as baby carrots or celery sticks

 

1. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado pulp and place in a bowl. Set avocado skins aside.

2. Add the hummus and lemon juice to the bowl and use a fork to mash ingredients until smooth.

3. Scoop the green hummus back into the avocado skins. Place 2 zucchini rounds and olive slices in the hummus at the wider end of each avocado skin for eyes. Add carrot matchsticks at the narrow end for teeth.

4. Enjoy with your favorite veggie dippers. Bean appétit! Makes 2 Crocamoles Behind the beans We almost named this dish “Guacadile.” Creating clever names is a favorite part of our jobs.

 

By Shannon “Peacasso” Seip & Kelly “Pea Brain” Parthen Co-founders of Bean Sprouts, a hip and healthy kids’ café inside Kidspace

 

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Bio:

Bean Sprouts plants cafés inside family destinations across the country and is in front of over 10 million visitors each year. Our philoso-PEA is to spark children's appetites with yummy, good-for-you food; and delight grown-ups with a happier mealtime.

Core Values:

  • Health
  • Innovation
  • Positivity
  • Playfulness