Caron Gremont is a busy mom – just as are some of our most frequent Cava Grill customers. But she’s also the founder of First Bites, a local non-profit organization that runs programs in preschools and early childcare centers in the DC area that are focused on getting kids excited about eating fruits and vegetables.
Today, Caron’s schooling us on some of her favorite ways to get kiddos to try new, healthy foods. If this woman can get youngsters to eat kalamata olive hummus, we’re pretty sure there’s nothing she can’t do.
Take it away, Caron!
1. Try a Tasting Game.
Instead of serving your child something new at meal time, take the pressure away from meals and make food tasting a fun game you play at another time. Put out bite-size “tastes” of various foods and ask your children to rate them on their own scoring card. [Consider categories like: most crunchy or most mushy, most sweet or most salty, loudest to chew or quietest, etc.] Build off something your child already likes, like cherry tomatoes, and add beefsteak tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes. Or, Cava Foods traditional hummus, roasted red pepper hummus, and kalamata hummus.
2. Think small.
Often when we introduce new foods, we pile a huge mound on a child’s plate, which can be very daunting to a child. Instead, serve them something new before a meal, when they are most hungry. For example, put out a plate of raw vegetables and hummus before dinner, and add a new vegetable to the well-liked options, like a few pieces of fennel or celery to the usual baby carrots.
3. Let them make decisions.
Children love to feel involved. Let them thumb through a cookbook and pick a new recipe to try. Let each child plan the menu for a particular night of the week. Serve a “Make-Your-Own” meal and put out all the parts of the meal and let kids assemble it themselves (consider Mediterranean, with pita, falafel, hummus, salad).
4. Get them involved.
Encourage children to help cook. Younger kids are great at tearing spinach leaves, breading zucchini slices, squeezing lemons, cracking eggs, and mixing. Older kids are able to slice, chop, and measure, with appropriate supervision.
5. Shop together.
Shopping with kids can be exhausting but if you make it fun and get them involved, you’ll all get more out of it. Give children tasks, like picking out the avocados or looking for the word “black” in the bean section. When you get to the produce section, let them pick a new fruit or vegetable to try. The more invested they feel in what they eat, the more likely they are to try something new.
You can purchase our line of small-batch dips and spreads at your area Whole Foods or other area specialty market.
Click here to find the one that’s closest to you.