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Host a Secret Tasting Party

Do you remember on Fear Factor and Survivor when they would make the contestants eat disgusting things? I imagine that’s how kids feel when we put a new food in front of them and expect them to dive right in. As an adult, one of my favorite things to do is to try new foods! Eating out, you’ll often hear me say, “Well, I’ve never had that before – I think I’ll try it!” But I wasn’t always this way – I had to learn! Make trying new things fun by hosting a Secret Tasting Party.

  • Keep an eye out for interesting things. Go to an international market and wander the aisles. This is my favorite way to discover things – it doesn’t matter if you don’t read the language, you can often guess generally what’s in it – chocolate looks yummy in all languages! As you’re planning what to serve, think about a mix of fresh food and cupboard items. 

  • Know your audience. Obviously, the goal is for them to like the food and feel encouraged to try new things expecting to enjoy them, so maybe keep the stinky fish for yourself. But things like starfruit and Pocky are generally crowd pleasers, so aim for mostly things you think they’ll like and throw in a few just to expand the taste buds – you might find your little one enjoys stinky fish as much as you do!

  • Fill their plate. Here’s an important step – you are going to take all the items and make a lovely snack plate for them. They don’t have to scoop things out of bowls or decide if they want to take one, just set it out for them.

  • The no thank you bite rule. In my house, you must always take at least one “no thank you” bite. Because you don’t know unless you’ve tried! But if you have tried it, and it’s not your thing, you can simply say, “no thank you” and move on to the next thing!

  • Recap the snacks. When you’re all done eating, ask for feedback. Which did they like best and why? What was not something they want to eat again and why? Show them the boxes that things came in and talk about where they come from. You might find some new favorites!

Would you do a secret tasting party with your family? What other ways can you facilitate more adventurous eating?

Originally posted on on May 10, 2022

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