Taste Tests: Getting Kids Excited About New Foods


Encouraging healthy eating habits in early childhood is beneficial for young children as they grow. One of the best ways to promote healthy eating habits to young children is through positive exposure to fruits and vegetables. Introducing new foods to kids can be a difficult task, but there are many ways to make it a fun and positive experience!

What is a Taste Test?

A taste test introduces one or more foods to a child in a positive, and even exciting, environment. Taste tests provide an opportunity for children to have new experiences with foods while exploring their senses. It can take multiple exposures for a child to like a new food. Doing frequent taste tests can help children become more adventurous eaters, making them more likely to try new foods. Providers can host a taste test during snack times, mealtimes, or even as a stand-alone classroom activity. There are a variety of different concepts and themes that can be incorporated during a taste test – whether you are celebrating the holidays or learning colors and shapes, there’s always a way to bring in a taste test!

Successful Taste Test Steps

Pick a theme.

Here are a few ideas for fun taste test themes!

  • Different variety, same food – try different types of apples or different types of grapes!
  • Different forms, same food – try one food cooked in a variety of ways; you can try fresh, frozen, and canned beans and talk about the difference between each!
  • Different foods, similar categories – try cabbage, collard greens, and spinach together for a leafy green-themed taste test!
  • Different foods, same theme – pick 3 foods that are the same color! For a red-themed taste test, try strawberries, radishes, and tomatoes and talk about their bright red color!
  • Story-themed Taste Tests – read a food-themed book and taste-test the food talked about in the story! Two awesome veggie-themed books are Zora’s Zucchini and Silvia’s Spinach.
  • Celebrating Cultures through Food – Learn about the cultures of the children in your care and create a taste test around the foods of their culture!

Keep it simple.

You should only use 3 foods or fewer during a taste test activity. This lets children focus on the taste, texture, and smell of each food.

Show the whole food.

Show children how the food looks whole before cutting it into smaller pieces!

Wash hands.

Make sure that everyone washes their hands before and after the taste test.

Taste and let children explore.

Taste the food with the children! Even if it is a food that isn’t your favorite, it’s a great opportunity for you to explore different foods. Children will also be encouraged to try them if you are tasting with them!

Tips and Tricks for Happy Taste Tests

Involve the children and all their senses in exploring the fruit or vegetables.

Place the fruit or vegetable in a brown paper bag and ask the children to describe what is in the bag. For example, is it soft? Is it hard? Does it have a smell? Is it cold? Is it smooth? Children are more likely to try a food they have explored.

Allow the children to help prepare the food for testing.

Children can help with washing food, cutting food with developmentally-appropriate tools, or placing food in bowls.

It is okay if the child doesn’t eat the food!

Even if they just touch, smell, or lick the food, that is still considered exposure to new food!

Trying new foods is a journey, and it is essential to be patient with young children during taste tests.

Avoid pressuring children to taste the foods if they are hesitant.

In Summary

Taste tests are a great way to introduce children to new foods in a fun and exciting way. The more frequently children are exposed to new foods, the more likely they are to try them. This can go a long way in increasing the fruits and vegetables children eat and creating lifelong healthy eating habits.


Infant and toddler nutrition. (2022, April 11). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/InfantandToddlerNutrition/foods-and-drinks/foods-and-drinks-to-encourage.html

Farm to Preschool Taste Test Guide. South Carolina Farm to Preschool https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:cadd1a0f-37b9-3026-93f1-3bc6b8d19c0d