Back in December, Channel 4 partnered with us on their award-winning show, The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds, for a one-off holiday special. One of the themes in the episode was a food-tasting challenge, which got me thinking: how can you encourage your kids to try new food on holiday? Holidays are all about experiencing new things, but if teatime at home is a battle, it’s no surprise that parents might be worried about going away. Take a look at some tips below for making meals abroad as fun and stress-free as possible.
#1. Get a group together
Professor Alison Pike explains that ‘for some children and parents, food turns into such a battleground’. For many, it’s a fear of the unknown, but being in a place with new sights, smells and sounds might encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone. One of the best ways to do this is to get a group of kids together, as we saw on the show. Peer pressure can be a positive thing in cases like this, with their friends encouraging them to be brave.
They were tasked with tasting a range of new foods including squid, octopus and sea bream. Kids that would normally turn their nose up at the dishes were battling it out over who could eat the most! ‘They balance up the rewards of the social glory and social self-esteem, with the risk that it’s actually very grim to eat,’ says Professor Paul Howard-Jones, with six-year-old Layton maybe summing it up best: ‘It was disgusting. But I did like it.’
#2. Turn it into a game
If you can make tasting food fun, your kids will definitely want to be part of it. In one of the mini-episodes, the group was split into two and tasked with building the tallest tower that they could. The twist was, the towers had to be made of loukoumades, deliciously sweet donut-like balls, held together with syrup and icing paste. It’s a great way of warming your kids up to the local culture and you could take this idea all over the world; from decorating their perfect pizza in Italy to building their best taco in Mexico.
If you’re staying in an All Inclusive hotel, this is also a great opportunity to have some fun trying lots of traditional food. An All Inclusive buffet means you can try a bit of everything, so you could make it a kid’s challenge to try one new dish each day, or encourage siblings to go head-to-head in guessing what an unknown fruit or veg is!
#3. Pick the perfect hotel
The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds on Holiday was filmed at the Sunwing Sandy Bay Resort in Cyprus. If you choose to go on holiday here, there’s a great choice of food for the whole family. You can choose from Andrea´s Kitchen, the snack bar and a takeaway service, as well as picking up any extras from the Mini Market & Deli which sells baby food, smoothies, stews and snacks.
There’s also the main restaurant, where you’ll be able to find new flavours every day of the week. The buffet has themed nights for countries all over the world including India, Italy and a locally-inspired Cyprus one. The buffets are also labelled with the 12 European standard allergens, so kids with dietary needs don’t have to worry about eating something they shouldn’t have. This includes gluten-free and dairy-free options in the Mini Market and for extra peace of mind, the hotel’s home to an Allergy Ambassador.
Do you have any tips for getting kids to try new food? Have you been to a Sunwing Family Resort before and loved the experience? It’d be great to hear what you think in the comments below.