If you're the parent of a picky eater, you probably stick to the usual bland fare for your child; at least that way, you know your child is going to eat something and get the basic nutrition that they need. However, many children that won't try new foods at home are more willing to try new things if they are eating out at a restaurant, especially if they have a peer that they admire with them. So, if you fancy a night out at a restaurant other than your child's favourite but have been putting off going anywhere different to save on money, bring along your child's best friend and head to your nearest Chinese restaurant (Chinese food is a great place to start as it is easy to find something that isn't too spicy, and even most picky kids love fried rice), and use the following tips to encourage your child to taste something that they will hopefully learn to love!
For your child's first trip, go for something simple like fried rice with chicken, beef, or pork. Or, if your child is a fan of battered food like fish nuggets (which most kids are!) see if tempura is on the menu. This Japanese favourite is often found in Chinese restaurants as well and will look innocent enough to the eyes of a child who is used to eating battered food. If the tempura comes with sauce, ask for it to be served on the side. That way, your child can dip the tempura if they wish -- something that is attractive to children of all ages!
Look for other familiar foods
If your child is a fan of pasta, it may be worth going for a Lo Mein dish, as Lo Mein resembles spaghetti. And, if your child prefers soup, consider ordering a Cantonese chow mein dish; these are often soup-based and so will be more attractive to your child. If, on the other hand, your child is hooked on finger foods like chicken nuggets or fishfingers, order them some cream cheese wontons or potstickers. If you order something close to what your child already likes, you are easing them slowly into developing his or her palette, and there is a greater chance that your child will eat what is on offer.
Once your child has discovered that Chinese food can be delicious, you can branch out and order more exciting dishes. And, if your child simply refuses to try anything different and ends up eating a bit of rice and a couple of steamed veggies, that's fine! You've done your bit by introducing your child to new dishes and a different cuisine, and that is the best you can do. Just give it a go again one day; your child will be more familiar this time with what to expect and may just surprise you!