Food tasting sessions allow children
the chance to try a range of different
foods and really explore what they
look, feel, smell and taste like.
Children are encouraged to share
their views using thumbs up/down or
smiley/unhappy faces to vote for
favourite foods or provide feedback
on what they thought of a new food.
In the nursery garden we encourage
the children to become involved in
growing their own produce, with
vegetable patches and herb gardens
providing the opportunity for
children to deepen their
understanding of where food comes
Top Tip: Why not have a go at
planting some vegetables at home?
It can be far more exciting to try a
piece of lettuce that your child has
planted, watered and watched grow
than if it comes out of a bag from
the shop! Fruit and vegetables can
be grown in very small containers,
strawberries can be grown in a
hanging basket and herbs can be
grown in pots along a windowsill,
perfect even if you don’t have access
to a garden.
3. Praise even the tiniest
Even if your child has just tasted a
tiny amount of food, or smelt a piece
of broccoli for the first time, it is so
important to encourage them by
praising this effort. Use positive
praise and rewards such as a sticker
for a chart, rather than using bribes
such as ‘eat your vegetables and then
you can have dessert’.
Top Tip: If your child is a the stage
where they are willing to try a food
use a visual prompt for how many
mouthfuls or bites you would like
them to try. This could be as simple
as three cards representing the
three bites or mouthfuls that your
child can turn over with each go.
4. Keep mealtimes calm, happy and
If you are more relaxed around
mealtimes your child will be too.
Mealtimes can be a really special and
fun family time and an opportunity to
get together and talk about your day
and other interesting topics of
conversation. Keeping the tone
relaxed and the emphasis away from
the food itself can help take some of
the pressure off of your child who
may be feeling anxious about the
food that will be presented to them.
If you are more relaxed around
mealtimes, your child will be too.
Sitting together at a table and
modelling a healthy attitude towards
eating and trying a wide range of
foods can have a big impact on how
your child will perceive eating and
meal times in general. It is well
known that children thrive on
routine, so where possible try to
schedule 3 meals a day with small
Top Tip: Why not give your child the
responsibility of setting the table
for family meals? Allowing your
child some choices such as where
they will sit or what colour plate or
cup they would like to put out can
help make the meal time more fun.
5. Make healthy foods fun and
The way we talk about different
foods can really affect your child’s
view of them. Often we talk more
positively about less healthy ‘treat
foods’ than fruits and vegetables.
Using words such as ‘yummy’ and
‘delicious’ when discussing a new
fruit can make it seem a more
Top Tip: Why not come up with fun
descriptions for different foods such
as ‘mini trees’ for broccoli or
‘princess peas’. You could even have
a go at making some fun food
creations with your child such as a
funny face made from a cracker and
vegetables or placing chopped fruit
to look like their favourite animal.
Finally, it is important to remember
that your child’s tastes, palate, and
experiences of food are constantly
shifting and evolving. With nursery
and home working together, plus a
sprinkling of perseverance, we are
confident mealtimes can become an
enjoyable experience, with your child
eating the right balance of foods to
grow and learn.