BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Trying new foods can be tricky when it comes to little kids, especially when foods are touching or look flat-out strange.
One Birmingham family has created an app to help parents get their kids excited about trying new food and the concept is pretty neat.
David and Kassady Gibson came up with the idea about a year ago when one of their daughter’s, Ali, was reluctant to try a banana.
“She was refusing to eat a banana and I said if you eat it you can have a banana badge,” Kassady Gibson joked, “and my husband said yeah, you could be a part of the Food Explorer Club… and then she tried it.”
The app is called the Food Explorer Club. Parents download the app and create profiles for their kids. As they try new foods, they select the badge for it and assign the points. The number of points rewarded is completely up to the parent.
Once they reach enough points for a reward, they can redeem them for whatever goals and rewards they have set. For example, for an exchange of 200 points, the children can go to the park.
The excitement of earning points for trying foods and redeeming them for a reward helps the kids open up their tastebuds to new things. It’s not guaranteed that they will like it, but the point is to at least try it.
The development of the app is a creation brought to you by the entire family, Kassady Gibson said. Ree and Ali Gibson have both tried numerous foods for badges and even found some new favorites through the Food Explorer Club app.
Before trying salmon, Ree Gibson said she did not like it.
“They used to trick me about the salmon saying it was chicken, or that any kind of fish that they put on the plate was chicken,” Ree Gibson said, “and I said, ‘that’s not chicken tell me what it really is.'”
Her mom said by earning a salmon badge in the Food Explorer Club, it encouraged Ree to try it. And now she loves it.
As children continue to use the app, they reach new levels by trying new foods. The app will also feature a list of characters who will help teach parents and kids nutritional facts as they try new foods.
There is a Beta version of the app that parents can test by going to the Food Explorer Club Facebook. The full version is expected to be released by October 2019. Users can pre-register for the app by heading to their website. The first 5,000 people who download the app will get it for free.