I decided to give each of my girls a small budget to spend in the produce section. I tell them that they have $2 to spend on ANY new food they would like to try. I find that $2 usually covers a "trial" portion of a fruit or vegetable.
1. As a parent, you have to be willing to try new foods, too! You can't expect just your children to eat healthy--you have to be a role model and try the food, too! Be excited about it (Dad, too!) Your children will match your excitement level, for better or worse.
2. Yes, you are going to have to get creative and figure out HOW to actually prepare these foods! The internet is full of awesome recipes. Keep it simple! But it will take time to find recipes and then actually prepare the food.
Last, and MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL:
3. You HAVE to allow the child to participate in the preparation of the food. Just choosing the food isn't enough! Children are exponentially more likely to actually eat and like the new food if they had an important part in preparing the food. Talk out loud with your child during the preparation:
~Why did the child choose the food?
~What color is it? What does it feel like?
~What shapes are we cutting it into?
~Our family will be excited to get a bite to try!!
Don't get discouraged if your child doesn't take to the food. Ask if they would be willing to try again, with a different recipe. Talk about what they DID like, was there anything at all about the food they liked? Be sure to congratulate the child on being brave and trying a new food.
And if your child DID like the food, then get excited! Your child helped the family discover a new food! Be sure to add the recipe to your list of favorites, and try the new recipe again within two weeks to solidify your new food! Have the child use their budget to purchase the ingredients the next time to you make it (and, of course, let them help prepare it again!)