Family Travel Survival Guides: Picky Eaters

Travelling with picky eaters

Eating should be part of the adventure on a family holiday and even fussy eaters can enjoy travelling by taste.  If you want to watch your kids enjoy experimenting with their own taste, try our tips below.

Childhood memories are a blur of colour, place and time, punctuated by poignant sensory experiences.  Encouraging children to explore the world through their tastebuds helps put a place into context, “Remember Morocco, where you had the really spicy lamb?” Young children may not remember the hotel or even the country, but that first sip of fresh coconut juice or the slippery, salty tang of an oyster will never be forgotten.

Prepare them before you leave by visiting your local farmers market or ethnic food store. Let them touch, smell and taste the unusual flavours. Set them a challenge to try something new, and then describe to you what it tastes like. Do the same when you travel. The local market is a great place to be immersed in a new culture.

Eat out and eat together as often as you can, avoiding the temptation to opt for a ‘kids menu’. We take it for granted, but the way food is presented can be fascinating and kids love variety. Dim sum in a steaming basket or sushi on a conveyor belt always delights small people.

Before you fly, choose a recipe from your destination and cook up their imagination. To a child, measuring out the ingredients, smelling spices and chopping vegetables is a treat not a chore. Look at each food label and talk about the origins.

Be open-minded. You may not like Indian or Japanese food but that doesn’t mean your kids won’t. Encourage them to try everything and never tell them they won’t like something until they’ve had a chance to try it for themselves. Likewise if they have tried it and don’t like it, don’t force it.

Make it fun. Challenges, like ‘I bet you can’t eat three different orange vegetables’, make eating a game not a chore. Eating with chopsticks (however messy) or letting them feel the slippery okra or squidgy tofu and take the focus off the food and onto the experience.

 Do you find yourself packing cornflakes? Or have your children happily eaten something really off-the-wall while on holiday? Let us know in the comments below.