Here’s a simple idea to help your picky eater and 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? One solution: Use a Taste Plate.
A Taste Plate can help your picky eater at mealtime. It’s 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.
A few caveats to the Taste Plate:
- 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?”
- Allow your kids to (politely) spit out the food in a napkin if they taste it and don’t like it.
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.
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By the way, these plates are from Fiesta. I’m a Fiestaware superfan. Fifteen years ago, I started with a set of their every day dishes in a variety of colors and have been adding old and new pieces to our collection ever since (and I’m loving their latest color, Daffodil). Their new Bistro Crescent Plates shown in these photos are 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). If you want a smaller dish, their little Fruit/Salsa Bowls would also fit the bill (we use them for everything from ice cream to veggies).
If you want a smaller dish, their little Fruit/Salsa Bowls would also fit the bill (we use them for everything from ice cream to veggies).
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.