How To Get Your Kids To Eat New Things While Traveling

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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!1005242_10153110417775440_34027537_n

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!

25434_10150143980810440_2208459_nHere 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!”

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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 Fried_cockroaches_in_Thailand_marketthe 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!

– Stacey

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8 Comments

  • Reply April 6, 2014

    Michael Orobona

    Our secret is telling them "we don't run a restaurant. That's all there is to eat." If they're hungry enough...
  • Hehe - I wonder if that will work? We have the must-try-once rule and after that you don't have to eat any more. (We don't follow the dessert thing - we find our kids eat better when they know they're not getting dessert at the end.) But although they're adventurous enough at home, the eldest usually clams up when we're away - as if it's all a bit too overwhelming. So far we've just let it go and sometimes he'll try a bit of what everyone else is sharing just not to be left out but maybe we'll have to do something to make it cool to try new stuff!
    • Reply February 13, 2014

      basketslife

      Well it works for us I hope it will work for your family! Boys are tough especialy when things need to be cool! Thank you for reading!
  • Reblogged this on Forget the Viagra, Pass Me a Carrot and commented: Following on from some excellent tips on travelling with children, here is one on how to get them to eat new things on route. Thanks Basketslife - haven't got children but we adults can be a bit tentative too!
  • Reply January 28, 2014

    Britta

    omg stacey...you really invent the coolest things ;-). and what a great idea for the holidays ! i know that from egypt...different foods...and no idea what it is. and i really have the biggest respect for your boys...and what they tasted...really cool ! thumbs up !!!
    • Reply January 29, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi Britta thank you for reading! Thanks so much for the nice comments your very sweet! They have tried a lot of new food ~ one day they will be very happy we played this game!
  • Reply January 28, 2014

    Kerry Ascione

    Fantastic idea, your game. It's tool late for my kids, they are now 11 and 16 and are pretty good eaters now; but I could have used this about 5 years ago! We did take one of my sons friends to England with us in 2011, he's was the pickiest 13 year old I ever met. He would only eat pizza or McDonalds! It was very challenging to find food for him; England is not know for great pizza.
    • Reply January 28, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you for reading! I think most kids are like that only want Pizza & Mcdonalds! Well we live in Lithuania where there was only 1 Mcdonalds in the whole country ~ so we had to change something! LOL Thank Goodness we did now that they are older they are super eaters ~ and we still play the game and they are 11 and 14! :) thanks for reading!

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