try new foods kids
Kids, Picky Eaters, Tips / How-Tos, Toddlers

How to Get Kids to Try New Foods: 5 Strategies for Introducing Nurture Life Meals

Nurture Life’s kids meals are made to be kid-friendly, but getting a child to try new foods can be difficult…even if they aren’t a picky eater. So what’s a busy parent to do when their kid just keeps saying “no, no, no”? 

Before giving in to the mealtime blues, check out these five strategies for how to get kids to try new foods. Who knows—with the help of these tips, your little one just might find their next favorite meal on the Nurture Life menu!

1. More Mixing = More Fun!

Many kids like certain foods on their own but will balk at the very same foods any time they’re combined in a meal. While some children may dislike when their foods touch, others may resist due to intimidation or confusion about what exactly is in this “mystery meal.”

To give your kid some familiarity, try pointing out and naming the different ingredients in their Thai Coconut Chicken or Cheeseburger Casserole. You can even make a fun guessing game of it! Once your child realizes what’s in the meal, explain that they already enjoy these foods on their own and that mixing them together only makes them better.

For children that are averse to foods touching altogether, consider focusing on Nurture Life meals in divided compartments, like our Chicken Meatballs with Pasta & Veggies or Frittata with Cinnamon French Toast.

2. Play Around with Personalizing.

Nurture Life’s meals have been developed by registered dietitians, and they’re made with just enough salt to bring out the natural flavors in the food, helping your child develop a palate that doesn’t depend on salt for flavor. Because our sodium content is relatively low, however, some children who are used to salty snacks may feel like something’s missing.

If at first our meals aren’t appealing to your child, feel free to make some adjustments! Many kids enjoy creating their own “house specials” by adding their favorite condiments, seasonings or sauces to our meals. 

Skip the salt shaker and instead pump up the flavor with these creative toppings: 

  • Parmesan or other cheese
  • Salt-free seasoning blends
  • Greek yogurt dressings 
  • Lemon, lime or orange zest or juice
  • Any fresh or dried herbs your kids already like

Extra Tip: If your children are big on crunch, sprinkle some toppings to give that satisfying texture to any dish! Great options for healthy toppings include roasted chickpeas, chopped nuts, diced jicama, toasted quinoa or baked pita chips.

3. Invite Your Kids to Order.

As parents, it can be exciting to pick out new foods for your kids to try—and it can be just as exciting for your kids to contribute to the process! Make your child a part of your weekly meal ordering, and they’ll feel a sense of participation and engagement from the very beginning. They’ll also know exactly what’s on the table each week, which can help set expectations and avoid mealtime “curveballs” that often lead to food rejection.

Extra Tip: As you and your kids explore our kids meal delivery menu, take the opportunity to talk about it. Discuss what you like about each meal and how healthy foods keep us strong and feeling good. The more you can talk about food as a family, the less resistant your kids may be towards new foods! 

4. Stay Firm but Positive.

Despite our very best efforts, sometimes mealtime simply does not go as planned, even when you aren’t offering any new foods for kids. If your child continues to refuse whatever you’re serving, try to be firm but encouraging:

  • Leave the plate on the table.
  • Gently remind your child that the food is delicious and will help keep them healthy and strong.
  • Let your child know that it’s okay to take a break if they aren’t ready to eat yet.
  • Keep the plate accessible and do not offer another meal instead.

Once children realize that nothing else will be prepared, they’re typically willing to eat.

5. Try, Try Again.

Whenever you feel stuck wondering how to get kids to try new foods, remember that it often just takes time. Experts advise that it can take up to 15 times for a child to prefer a new food, so stay positive and keep trying!

Instead of serving a new meal on its own, you can also try mixing a small amount of the new food into an already-accepted dish. For instance, toss a spoonful of Nurture Life’s Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower into your kid’s favorite boxed mac and cheese, adding more spoonfuls each time until you’ve completely transitioned over.

Extra Tip: If your child continues to refuse our meals even after trying several times, feel free to take a break for a while before offering them again. Unopened Nurture Life meals can be safely frozen, so you won’t have to worry about food going to waste.

Kids don’t have to be picky eaters to have a hard time adjusting to new foods—especially if these foods have been purposely made with less salt and sugar, as our baby, toddler and kids meals are. We’re always here to help, so if you’ve tried these tips and are still stuck introducing new foods to your kids, don’t hesitate to contact us at support@nurturelife.com.

Lara Field at Nurture Life

Lara Field

Lara has been working with Nurture Life since its inception, collaborating with the culinary team on the creation of all menus and recipes to ensure they are nutritionally appropriate and correctly proportioned for every age and stage of a child’s development and providing pediatric nutrition expertise to Nurture Life customers. Lara is the owner/founder of FEED—Forming Early Eating Decisions, a nutrition consulting practice specializing in pediatric nutrition and digestive diseases. Lara has over a decade of experience in clinical practice at two of the top ranked pediatric hospitals in the country, Lurie Children’s Hospital and University of Chicago Medical Center. Lara received her B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and M.S. and dietetic internship from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Lara truly enjoys the process of eating (and feeding!), from procuring the ingredients at various grocery stores and farmers markets, to organizing her pantry/refrigerator at home to make it easy to select healthy options, to preparing balanced meals with her children. Whether it be a decadent treat to a hearty, home-cooked meal, there is no greater satisfaction for Lara than enjoying food with her family.