Guest post by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Crunch a Color

Not long ago, I dreaded dinner.

The edge in my voice sharpened with each meal.
After months of mealtime battles, I had very little runway when it came to negotiating with the picky eaters at my table.

52-New Foods Challenge for kids: try a new food every week for 52 weeks. Each food is worth different points.

An act of desperation catalyzed a change for my family. With nothing to lose, I decided to turn mealtime into a healthy eating game. “Here’s the deal.” I bargained. “Points for every healthy food you eat. More points for kale than carrots. Bonus points for trying something new.” It was a gamble that paid off—big time.

Battles over broccoli quickly subsided and the gloomy clouds that hovered over our dinner table began to lift, along with my mood. Rounding out the colors on our plates, and earning points along the way, was working for all of us.

But like any game, once mastered you move to the next level—the bigger challenge—which is where The 52 New Foods Challenge enters the story. Don’t get me wrong; I was thrilled that we were finally eating broccoli and beans without a fuss. But the key to a healthy diet is variety, and that’s where we needed a boost.

So the next game was born: 52 weeks, 52 new foods. Each week, we would head to the farmers’ market and my kids would pick a new food to try. Then together, we would cook—steamed artichokes with lemon butter, roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta, Romanesco, radicchio and radish. And as we learned to cook together, a change came about that I never expected.

I started out our adventure thinking it was about getting my kids to try new foods. But more than the foods we tried, it was spending quality time together as a family that made the difference, not just for my kids but for me. In the end, whether my kids liked the new food that we made didn’t matter. The real reward was the time spent cooking together as a family. Building a connection was the key to making a positive change at our family table.


Leave a comment below for a chance to win one of three CruchaColor games. What’s one new food you’ve put on the table this year?


Winner’s announced Sunday evening.

A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the creator of the award-winning healthy eating game Crunch a Color® and author of the forthcoming book tentatively titled, The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin/Avery 2014), a week-by-week playbook to get your family eating healthy, one new food at a time.

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