Stick it to Picky Eaters

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 3.28.59 PM At the Farm to Table Conference in Pittsburgh last month, I spoke with many parents looking for ways to encourage their children to try new foods. So at my workshop, “Kids’ Tasting Party” I introduced a concept that works wonders for us: serve food on a stick.

I taught kids and parents how to make pizza on a stick and discussed how the basic ingredients can all be grown or purchased from local farms and dairies. Kids can make pizza on a stick by themselves and easily vary the ingredients.

Serving food on a stick is more fun for many kids and adults. I spoke with a dad after the workshop who asked me how he can get his three-year-old daughter to try new things. I suggested a tactic we’ve used at home: present bite-sized portions on toothpicks. His eyes lit up and he laughed, “Of course! She’d love that!”

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Two tasting party attendees, a brother and sister, came up twice to make pizza on a stick. Their mom grabbed a copy of My Food Notebook for each of them because she wanted proof they and eaten tomatoes! I reminded her that My Food Notebook works best when kids record their new foods in their own handwriting.

Pizza on a stick is really a simple caprese salad, but the use of the word “pizza” is more familiar to children. When you want your kids to try something new, definitely make it fun and as familiar as possible. And don’t forget to try new things yourself!