Inside: This plate for picky eaters is a simple idea to encourage kids to try new foods. Use a “Taste Plate” and take some stress out of mealtime.
Maybe you have one of those kids who willingly tries new foods–and happily welcomes those new foods on their plate.
Lots of kids I know (including, ahem, one of my own) does not appreciate unfamiliar or unliked foods being put their plate.
I can relate!
As a picky eater kid, not only did I not want any of my foods touching each other, I certainly didn’t want a scary newcomer food alongside my dear old trusted friend, plain buttered noodles.
But how can we encourage our kids to try new foods if they won’t even allow them on their plate?
Meet the “Taste Plate”
The Taste Plate is a small dish that sits to the side of your child’s main dinner plate. It’s a non-threatening place where you can put portions of foods you’d like them to try.
Children who are reluctant to try new foods need to be reassured that they aren’t (secretly) being asked to eat the new food. That’s why, ‘Just taste it and if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it’ often backfires. Parents think kids who like the taste will want to eat the food, but kids think, ‘Even if I like it, do I really want to eat it?’ All too often the answer is ‘No.’ Putting a tiny, pea-sized sample on a separate plate will often reassure nervous tasters that the tasting is all they’re being asked to do.
I really like how Dina calls them “Nervous Tasters” because it shows compassion. Your picky eater is genuinely nervous (and maybe even scared) about trying new foods. So putting those small bites on a separate plate is one way to ease those nerves and make the idea of trying a new food seem more manageable.
How to make the Taste Plate work
This special plate for picky eaters is especially effective if you do a few things:
- Make the portions small–very small–the size of a small bite. If they taste it and like it, they can always have more!
- Consider your child’s temperament and don’t make the tastes mandatory if that’s not how your child rolls. Read: Should You Make Your Kids Take “Just One Bite?” and Why You Shouldn’t Pressure Your Kids To Eat
- Allow your kids to (politely) spit out the food in a napkin if they taste it and don’t like it.
What kind of dish should I use?
Any small dish will work: a tea saucer, a dip bowl, a small ramekin, a salad plate. Anything that allows those tastes to be separate from your child’s main plate.
What are the plates shown in the photos?
They are Fiesta Bistro Crescent Plates. They’re actually designed to sit to the side of a regular dinner plate, so they would make excellent Taste Plates (they’re also perfect for a side salad or snack).
More help for picky eating
- What To Do If Your Kid Won’t Eat Dinner
- How To Teach Your Kids To Love Salad
- Is Your Child As Picky As You Think?
Disclosures: I received a free set of Crescent Plates to try. This page contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase a product through these links, your cost will be the same but I will receive a small commission to help with operating costs of this blog. Thanks for your support.