Kids can be faddy eaters at the best of times, but when you’re on the road, and faced with food choices that might not be their usual tastes, getting them to eat healthily can be a difficult task.
It can be done, although it does of course depend on the child in question, and how hungry they are!
Take a look at these ideas, and see if any of these will help your situation.
It’s no good launching straight into some elaborate dish that looks much better than it tastes, so it’s always a good idea to start small and work your way up. Start with something that is comparable to something they like at home, e.g. if they’re a big fan of potatoes, try and find a local dish that includes potatoes, so they can see that the taste will be familiar and not alien to them.
Yes they need to eat, and maybe the options for what is available are limited, but it’s no good forcing them to eat something they don’t want to, because you’re only going to make them dig their heels in further. Children and eating can be a thankless task, because if they’re faddy or if they don’t like eating anything out of their comfort zone, then if you push pressure on it, they just don’t do it all the more. Try and adopt a casual attitude, and you might find that a bit of reverse psychology works!
You try it first
Try a certain dish yourself first and make a big show of how nice it is, don’t go over the top, but just have a mouthful and go “oh, that’s nice” and make it convincing, because this will make your child want to have a try themselves.
Think of the visual
Children aren’t going to eat anything that looks strange, so make sure you pick dishes that look relatively mainstream and normal!
Use a service
Have you heard of With Locals? This is a good way to introduce children, and indeed anyone, into local life and culture, where you actually eat in someone’s house. This is a great way to open up eyes to how locals live and go about their daily life, and you’ll probably find that because you’re in a home setting, albeit an alien one, children will feel more relaxed than they would in a restaurant atmosphere.
Think meze options
Tapas or meze are a good way to get children to try little bits of local food, without having to buy a large dish that they might not enjoy. This ‘try and see if you like’ idea is a lot less pressurised than being faced with a large plate full of something different. If you can’t get a meze or tapas option, then maybe share a dish between you, so it looks less daunting.
Getting children to try local cuisine totally depends on where in the world you are, and how different the food options are. Try and keep it as mainstream as possible at first, building up to the more obscure options as you go along.