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Eat Like a Dino and 5 Other Ways to Introduce Kids to New Foods

Introduce Kids to New Foods

My first child ate everything but I knew not to take credit for that. Some kids are just more cautious than others about new foods. Sure enough, my second (and now third) kids required more coaxing to get a balanced diet.

My second child loves dinosaurs and when he was a kid, we would tell him his veggies were dino food! If he was a tyrannosaurus, those vegetables became his prey. We would encourage him to gobble up those yummy “ankylosaurus” or “triceratops.” Then, he would happily devour his carrots and broccoli.

Dino Veggies and Salad

Many kids go through picky “phases” no matter what their parents do. However, my family believes that if we keep introducing new, healthy foods, our kids will eventually have a varied diet that meets their needs. Emphasis on the “eventually”!

  • New Experiences, New Food: Travel is also an excellent opportunity to try new foods. The first time my son ate sautéed green beans he was a toddler dancing next to our table at an outdoor café in Lisbon. Even if foreign travel is out of the family budget, you can go on a culinary adventure by sampling foods from other cultures right in your own neighborhood or kitchen. The excitement can be just enough to encourage curiosity and a sense of adventure in a picky eater.
  • Don’t Give Up: We are persistent. Even you did not like it yesterday, try it again…you might like it today!
  • Just a Little: We have a “try it, you might like it” rule in our house—you have to take two bites of everything on your plate but we will not force you to finish anything you do not like. Kids are more open to trying something if they feel like they have an out.
  • Healthy Heroes: With my second child, dinosaurs are what got him chomping his vegetables. With other kids, you might point out how their favorite athlete or superhero eats his or her veggies. Now, we have built in role models and tell my third little one that he needs to eat right to grow up strong like his big brother and sister.
  • Ingredient Ninja: We do not really “hide” foods but we do allow our children to season their food with vinegar, herbs and spices, or a little bit of shredded cheese. This gives them some control over the food as well as an outlet for culinary creativity. Sometimes the kids help cook, too, giving them ownership over the meal!

    What are your tips for introducing new foods to children? You can get more ideas to get your kids off to great starts like these at

    Kellogg’s® believes that From Great Starts Come Great Things®. So we’re helping Moms start every day with a tip from the top athletes of Team Kellogg’s™ and Team USA dietitians. The thirty days leading up to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will each feature fun pieces of advice to help families fuel just like the athletes of Team Kellogg’s. To see all 30 tips, visit

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    Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Kellogg’s via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kellogg’s.

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Candace is the co-editor and co-founder of Mamanista. She is an educational consultant and writer.

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9 Responses to "Eat Like a Dino and 5 Other Ways to Introduce Kids to New Foods"

  1. Jonathan says:

    I really enjoyed reading this and my wife and I are trying baby lead weaning with our son and have really enjoyed watching him try out lots of different foods. At the moment, he really loves broccoli, pears and blueberries.

  2. Lisette says:

    Great ideas! I like the idea of letting them season their own food! I never thought of that and it definitely may help my semi-picky eater try more things! Thanks!

  3. Candace says:

    Jonathan — That sounds really cool! I have heard about baby-led weaning (which I think involves giving them regular foods that are not mashed-up so they can eat/gnaw them or not, at their own pace) but haven’t tried it.

    Lisette — Kids do love seasoning things. Make sure it isn’t one of those tricky shakers where everything pours out, though! I’ve had a couple of plates ruined by those!

  4. Great post. When my son was little I always planned extra time at the grocery store with him to explore different foods – especially in the produce department. We also would study different countries and find recipes from those regions and try new foods that way.

  5. Candace says:

    Great tip, Robyn!

  6. This is great! My first child eats everything and tries most anything (unless he’s in a mood). Our middle child was a challenge. He is an extremely slow eater, but now our healthiest eater. Our third child, however, is an extremely picky eater. He’s only 18-months so I’m hoping he grows out of it soon. I will definitely be keeping this post handy for ideas as we continue working with him.

    We LOVE trying new foods while traveling! It makes our adventure even more exciting!

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