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Food Tasting

Explore how food tasting activities support hands-on learning and healthy food choices.

Explore how food tasting activities support healthy food choices.

Eating is learned behavior and as such, children need many and varied exposures to food throughout their development, starting early and often is best. 

Children may need to see, feel, smell, touch, and/or taste a new food ten to fifteen times before they eat and enjoy the food. Food tasting activities allow children to explore a wide variety of foods, some of which are new to them. When done in a safe and nurturing environment, children are more likely to participate, try new foods on their own, and continue to engage in new food exploration when presented with the opportunity. 


Tips for conducting tastings in a way that fosters positive, respectful conversations:

  • Use Positive language
    • Use words of encouragement like:
      • Thank you for helping me with this food tasting, what part of the activity do you want to help me with, what food(s) do you want to try next time?
      • It takes time to learn new things, let’s explore new foods and find out what they sound, taste, smell and feel like. 
  • Model respect for others
    • Use words of inclusion like: we are all learning about new foods and how they taste, let’s explore together. 
    • We all enjoy different foods. Let’s learn about everyone’s food traditions and cultural foods together. 
    • It is okay if you do not like a food, maybe next time you try it you will like it. Ask that children keep an open mind, positive attitude and provide them with words to use if they do not like a food at this time like, “no thank you, not for me today or maybe next time I will like it”.

  • Give individuals a voice by participating in other ways besides tasting foods to reduce pressure.
    • Enlist children to help with all parts of the activity, handing out supplies, cleaning up, helping others scoop, pour, mix, mark or tally results, etc. 
    • Ask how they have enjoyed the food, where they have seen the food, where they think it grows, comes from, etc.

  • Model and practice proper hygiene and food safety practices
    • Pull back long hair with a band or clip
    • Avoid touching hair and face
    • Wash hands with warm water and soap for 30 seconds before touching food and supplies
    • Wipe down surfaces to clean area clean
    • Store leftover food and refrigerate or freeze after activity
    • Gather trash after activity and dispose

Food Tasting 4                                                   Food Tasting 5


Food Tasting Ideas

Food Tasting A to Z: Taste various foods from A to Z

Food Tasting 2

Mindfully Tasting: Through a mindful eating activity, children practice slowing down and paying attention. 

1. Hold sample food and/or distribute samples to each child.

2. Say
Food Tasting 3

Discuss the activity as a group and give children a chance to share what they learned.

How to Encourage Children to Eat Healthfully

Megan Holdaway, RDN, shares tips to shape healthy eating habits for picky + selective eaters.

Watch here
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Explore topics that aid in navigating with picky eaters while establishing a healthy eating pattern.