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Reprint from Family Travel by Colleen Kelly: Expanding the Palate of a Picky Eater


Appeasing the picky eater is a challenge almost every parent has had to face at some point or another. Whether it’s a battle of the broccoli, or another culinary conflict, getting your child to try new foods can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Experts have noted that one of the best ways to get your child to eat foods that they might traditionally oppose, is by not putting any emphasis or weight on that particular food. Setting a plate of food in front of your child while simultaneously saying, “No dessert unless you finish all your vegetables,” implies that vegetables are a negative thing, since they are being told they have to eat them.

It can be just as challenging to get your child to try more ethnic foods. If they’re used to grilled cheese and chicken nuggets, the idea of international cuisine might seem, well, foreign to them. Here, we’re going to give you some helpful suggestions of kid-friendly foods from around the world that will encourage them to expand their picky palates.

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1. Thai – Tofu or Chicken Pad Thai

You and your spouse have been dying to try that new Thai restaurant that just opened up down the street, but you both know Little Suzy won’t eat anything but pizza. Try not to make it a point to say you’re going to “try a new restaurant” tonight. Instead, simply say you’re going to have Thai for dinner. A universally-loved option is chicken or tofu pad Thai, a noodle dish mixed with scrambled eggs, some vegetables, and a peanut-flavor. Try skipping the sprouts, to keep the meal looking and tasting a bit more simple. Don’t forget the potstickers! Kids are sure to love these tasty little dumplings with a side of soy sauce.

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2. Japanese – Ramen and California Rolls
Although people tend to associate Japanese cuisine simply with sushi, there’s a lot of options that kids will be more likely to try. One palate-pleasing standard is ramen. This soup-based noodle entree is made to order, and can include a variety of add-ins. If your child is used to more simple-tastes, try shoyu ramen, which is soy-sauce based. If you have a slightly more adventurous child, who wants to give sushi a try, suggest a California roll. These usually contain rice, cucumber, avocado, and crab meat or imitation crab. Some California rolls include fish eggs as well, but you can simply put in a special request with your waiter to leave those out. This might be more appealing to kids who are skeptical of anything fish-related that’s not breaded and dipped in ketchup.


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3. Italian – Pesto Cavatappi
As a parent, I quickly grew to learn that kids love buttered noodles. It’s an easy, simple dish, but of course, there’s not much to it. Build your child’s buttered noodle affinity by trying a new spin on this classic favorite, such as adding vegetables, or even a new sauce. For example, pesto is a mild enough sauce that your child might not notice too much of a flavor change. And with all the different variations and shapes of noodles, serve the sauce over something unique, like cavatappi or bowtie pasta. If you’re feeling really adventurous, combine a few types of noodles into one dish to give your child a fun surprise.

Read the rest of the article here on Family Travel with Colleen Kelly.

headshot-2016-catie_crpAbout Colleen Kelly:

Parent, travel writer, and seasoned traveler, Colleen Kelly grew up traveling all over the world. She has experienced the United States from coast to coast and has explored over 20 foreign countries. Her vast knowledge of travel brought her to realize the need for a new kind of travel experience and focus—one that is centered around the family. As a family travel expert, Colleen doesn’t miss a beat as she offers her personalized tips to parents. Her fun-loving personality pulsates through every moment of the show. She is the ultimate modern-day parent who isn’t afraid to kick back, get a little messy, and have fun!


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