Multicultural foods for children

By Michelle Powell-Smith

Introducing children to a wide variety of foods can prevent them from becoming picky eaters and help to teach them about other cultures. While many kids may be hesitant to try new foods, with regular exposure, you may find that your children love tamales, curries or other multicultural dishes. Maybe you'll find yourself liking the multicultural foods, too.

Getting Started

At first, you may find it easiest to introduce more familiar foods to children. If your child likes pasta, consider an Asian noodle dish as a variation on the family's usual spaghetti. If he likes scrambled eggs, perhaps it's time to try a quiche or a frittata. Keep in mind that many children may refuse foods that are totally unfamiliar.

Kids Cooking

One of the best ways to interest your children in multicultural foods is to bring them into the kitchen to cook. Kids of all ages are more apt to eat foods when they have a hand in preparing them. Even young children can stir ingredients, tear lettuce or mix dressings. Older children may be able to prepare simple meals with minimal assistance. Teens might take over cooking one night a week, trying new multicultural recipes each week to share with the family.


Each country has its own ethnic cuisine. Consider exploring different types of foods. For instance, India, Thailand and Indonesia all serve curries; however, the flavours, spices and ingredients differ. Rice usually appears on the menu in Asia, South America and Central America, while variations on pasta are common in Europe and in some parts of Asia. Consider experimenting with these types of multicultural foods for children.

Expand the Lesson

Multicultural foods are a great part of a learning experience. Consider taking advantage of an evening of spaghetti and antipasti to teach the children a few words of Italian, find Italy on the map and maybe look at pictures of Rome. Making your multicultural meals with kids is fun and can help them be more adventurous about trying and tasting new foods.


Even a reluctant eater may be willing to try ethnic foods if they are sweet treats. If you are not inclined to bake, visit local ethnic foods markets for treats and dessert items to entice reluctant children to try multicultural foods. Japanese pocky, German chocolates and French eclairs are sure to appeal to even picky eaters.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.