Asking my kids to try new foods while also making sure they get a daily dose of needed fruits and veggies has its challenges! I find that by including my kids in the process of kitchen prep and cooking, they are more encouraged to eat the foods I want them to eat. Simple tasks like washing and drying fresh fruits and vegetables brought home from the market to light prep work keeps them connected and inspires curiosity about what those foods they helped prepare taste like.
When it comes to preparing each ingredient for a meal or snack break, I give them fun tasks they can easily handle to be part of the kitchen experience. The kids work at a table where the countertop is at waist level. My son Darren (age 6) likes to chop soft fruits and vegetables like strawberries, melon, avocado, celery, boiled pasta, roasted beets, blanched carrots, and soft cheese. Lillian (age 4) gets tasks like separating broccoli florets by hand or peeling the shell off hard-boiled eggs.
Sometimes we play a fun game by selecting ingredients from the five major food groups. We prep and divide them out into a muffin pan. Having the foods separated like this also allows them to easily pick and choose a new food to try with something I know they already love.
It is a balancing act with my kids and food, but I find these little steps help keep them engaged and encouraged to consume more of the good stuff I want them to have!