Let Your Picky Eater Pretend to Be a Cooking Show Judge

Photo: asiandelight, Shutterstock
Photo: asiandelight, Shutterstock

Getting a young picky eater to try different foods can be a years-long battle. Parents of finicky eaters may find themselves winding their way through a variety of tips and tricks to help their kids become more adventurous with food. Some tactics work, some work for a little while, and others don’t work at all. If your kids are into cooking shows, though — or if they like to give a good “hot take” now and then — you might try making them the judge of your dinnertime cooking show.

I wish I had thought of this when my son was younger, but the credit for this idea comes from actor and comedian Jake Johnson, who shared it recently on The Kelly Clarkson Show:

“Before I had kids, I just didn’t cook very much,” Johnson tells Clarkson. “So I’ll make something that is really solid, and their response will be, after a bite, ‘I’ll take cereal instead.’ And so, we’ve been watching a lot of cooking shows, and so my way of getting cooking to work with my kids is rather than they’re themselves when I present them the food, they’re the judges on a cooking show … All of a sudden, they eat the whole meal because they’re a judge. So they’ll say, like, ‘I like the texture, but I don’t love the cheese on the quesadilla.’”

His kids will then take additional bites as they try to determine which aspects of the food work, and which could use improvement.

Also, because his kids (who are twins) are only six years old, Johnson says they were struggling to correctly use a numbered ranking system. So they created a new rating system based on the level of “sauce” they give to a dish. If they really like something, they deem it “extra sauce.”

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