As the oldest of three siblings, I can say that cooking for kids can definitely be a challenge. Thankfully, my younger siblings aren’t picky eaters, but I’ve had some hiccups. Here are some tips for pleasing the toughest food critics around.
1. Get them involved. It might be doing something as simple as mixing up a batter or washing veggies, but getting kids involved is one of my favorite ways to get them excited about the food—plus, they’re learning some important skills. I still have all my siblings on potato peeling duty every holiday.
2. Get creative with presentation. You might have heard the saying that we eat with our eyes first; this is especially true for kids! Experiment with different shapes and colors. I love to use cookie cutters for fruits and veggies.
3. Be patient. Although it can be incredibly frustrating to get young kids to try new things (trust me, I feel your pain), resist the urge to give up. Studies show kids can take up to 15 times of trying a certain food before liking or accepting it. Continue to introduce the tricky foods in different forms.
Ariana Feygin is a 14-year-old chef and Minnesota’s first contestant on Fox’s MasterChef Junior. She is the founder of her business Ariana’s Kitchen and is passionate about philanthropy, raising almost $300,000 for charitable causes to date.