“Momma, Can I Have Some Gouda?” How I Get My Kid to Try New Foods

My little boy has a more sophisticated palate at 3 than I did at 20. He asks for Gouda or Mango cheese {Manchego}, and his little hipster side loves bubble tea {don’t worry, we watch to make sure he drinks slowly and only a couple of boba at a time!}. He’s tried everything from sushi to Brussel sprouts, and foods from a variety of countries. And his true food love? The olive bar at Phoenicia Downtown where he can get his fill of all the different color olives! Meanwhile, I hated olives until recently because the little sliced bitter black olives ruined my pizza when I was little and I never gave them a chance.

"Momma, Can I Have Some Gouda?" How I Get My Kid to Try New Foods | Houston Moms Blog

Now, mind you, he doesn’t love all the things he’s tasted, and there’s so much more out there to try. Our rule is he has to taste something before he says he doesn’t like it, and he generally has to eat at least something of the meal we’re eating. But, he’ll still take chicken nuggets or pasta over almost anything.

It was important to us that our boy got used to eating different foods early. We enjoy traveling internationally and eating a variety of cuisines ourselves. We wanted it to be normal for him that food has a variety of looks, textures, tastes and smells. When we try something new, we learned it helps if we do it with excitement, instead of dreading what his reaction might be. He totally picks up on if we think he may not like it, and then lives up to that expectation. But, when we smilingly highlight an ingredient or two, especially if it’s something he’s had before, he’s much more likely to try it.

"Momma, Can I Have Some Gouda?" How I Get My Kid to Try New Foods | Houston Moms Blog

We also tell him all meat is chicken until he tries it because it’s a known favorite. Probably not the most solid parenting right there, but whatever, it works!

Aside from making our lives and mealtimes easier, another reason we want him to appreciate different cuisines that’s always in the back of my mind is I don’t want him to be THAT kid. The one that sees a classmate’s ethnic lunch and goes “Ew, that’s disgusting!” I had that happen to me on more than one occasion, and I used to hate it when my mom packed Indian food for lunch. She’s an amazing cook and did a fabulous job learning a variety of cuisines given that she had never had anything but Indian food until she moved to the States, but we had our fair share of Indian food growing up. It would look and smell different, and some kids were just not cool about it.

I hope instead that we teach our son to want to try new foods. We want to give him the courage to say, “It’s ok that you don’t like it. I love it – it’s delicious!”

"Momma, Can I Have Some Gouda?" How I Get My Kid to Try New Foods | Houston Moms BlogIt’s never too late to start, and Houston has a plethora of fun cuisines to choose from where you can find kid friendly food. Most Houstonians have their Tex-Mex fix down, but the next time you go out for dinner, try some injera from Blue Nile, a mild curry from Thai Gourmet or a samosa from basically anywhere on Hilcroft! And don’t forget the dessert!

About Rachel G.

Rachel is a born and raised Houstonian and Aggie, living and loving life inside the loop of Houston. Along with her husband Samir, almost ‘big kid’ {Sept 2015} and 2 adorable furbabies, she loves exploring all that Houston has to offer. Rachel loves to paint and craft, talk politics, read and travel. For their honeymoon, Samir and Rachel quit their jobs and flashpacked through Asia and South America for 8 months, before settling back into Houston corporate life. Rachel has also launched Artsy Dinos, a company that strives to help caretakers teach kids about embracing diversity through content and our cultural craft kits. Connect with us on Instagram @artsydinos!

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