We have traveled to some pretty cool places, and one challenge we used to have was getting the kids to try new foods! This is always hard for anyone. It is especially hard for the kids because the food is sometimes… well, you know, a bit different!
I usually say to my kids, “Oh yum! Here, try this!” as I try to put new food into my child’s mouth. That same mouth that has tried dirt outside suddenly clamps up like a vice! The eyes squint, the fists clench, and it’s on – the battle of trying something new! In many cases, they would have liked the food had we not battled over it!
FRUSTRATING, RIGHT?! I mean, life is all about trying new things. Think of all the amazing food they are missing!
So, how do we get them to try new things without tying them down, sitting on them, pinning their hands to the floor with our knees, and force feeding them?
Somehow I had to get them to eat when we were traveling. I forced it on them, talked to them, begged them… nothing worked. I thought long and hard about it and decided to make trying new foods a game! One night we were at dinner and a waiter, just off the cuff, said to my kids, “Every time you try something new, you add 20 days to your life!” The boys said, “WOW, really?” A light bulb instantly came on over my wine glass! So, I took this and ran with it.
I decided to play the “add 20 days to your life” game – whoever tried the most new foods on our travel was going to live the longest! Whoever lives the longest obviously ends up with the most toys!
Here are the rules – everyone is included, but not forced to play. Once you try something, the only rule is that you have to have one bite – chew it up, no gagging, no ugly face, nor pretending you’re going to die, and swallow. You have to give it a real chance. Then, you YELL, with fist in the air, “I added another 20 days to my life!” If you hate it, you never have to try it again, and you can order something else. Afterwards, you can have any dessert off the menu that you want, as long as you play! The amazing part is how they forget that it is gross and not a chicken nugget. They actually give the new food a chance. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, “Wow, that is actually pretty good!”
Another amazing thing is how this game takes on a life of its own. Now it’s not only me picking food for them to try – it has moved to “let’s see who can pick the coolest new food!” No, really! My kids have gone from chicken nuggets to bull balls, rattle snake eggs, caviar, pigs tail, black bread with lard, blood sausage – you name it, they have tried it! Sometimes, it gets a little gross, and I am sorry that I started this game, but hey, you take the good with the bad. One important tip as a traveling mom – prepare your kids for the new food in a new country. This helps them to be aware of what the new food could be at the new destination. We will be in Thailand this summer… I feel some fried cockroaches coming on!
The most important thing is that they try. Life is all about trying new things, right? It’s about the journey and learning to be open and adventurous people! I think my guys are pretty adventurous! So, my friends, that is how we get the kids to eat, no matter where we are in the world! We just play the “add 20 days to your life” game; try it… you just might add 20 days to your life!