In the Kitchen with Crave: Getting Kids to Eat Well

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Dan Wu


This is the third article of a four-part series with local chef Dan Wu, in which we approach and break down a culinary task that might seem daunting to the naked eye. This month, the task at hand is “getting kids to eat well.” 

The culinary series is presented by Crave Lexington, Smiley Pete’s second annual food + music festival celebrating “all things made from scratch.” Visit to watch “Crave Kitchen Shorts,” a series of short videos that accompany the articles, and to get more information on the festival, which takes place Sept. 13-14 at MoonDance Amphitheater in Beaumont Circle.

Picky eaters are made, not born. As the father of a 9-year-old girl, I’ve seen firsthand the fickleness of kids when it comes to eating. OK, so maybe my wonderfully snobbish little foodie, Sofia, prefers tripe to carrot sticks, but before she became the pint-size gourmand, she was a kid like any other, skipping her veggies and holding out for ice cream. Having seen my share of finicky eaters (and not just kids), I was determined to raise mine as a good eater, conscious of both nutrition and taste.

So how do we get kids to try new foods?

At an early age, I made sure Sofia always tried everything at least once before claiming not to like it. As big fans of the show “Bizarre Foods,” we adopted host Andrew Zimmern’s rule of “try two bites.” I also share his ethos that no food is intrinsically weird, that the perception of strangeness is based on cultural differences. Ethiopian kids who grew up eating the spongy sour bread injera may find hot dogs pretty peculiar.

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