There are a wealth of educational podcasts aimed at kids. They are engaging, funny, and as a parent I enjoy learning and laughing with my children. While answering questions like "Why is milk white?" or "How to make bread?" isn't a magic bullet, it can help to build curiosity about food.
For younger children (ages 3 and under), podcasts with plentiful use of songs, silly sounds and short stories are a great option. Older kids enjoy those that answer questions and explore science.
Some of my favorites are listed below with some personal insight about how they can help to foster conversation.
VPR But Why, November 22, 2016: Why Do We Like to Eat Certain Foods?
This episode is perfect for science lovers and very curious kids. It explores the sense of taste from food, brain and chemistry angles. Experts answer questions submitted by kids and offer a number of fun activities to test your own sense of taste.
My favorite part about this episode is when one of the experts shares "if you don't like broccoli then you shouldn't eat it." My picky eater became excited, jumping out of his seat that he now had "real ammunition" against eating broccoli.
Fast forward about ten minutes in the podcast when a different expert was addressing why flavor preferences vary with different cultures. She focused on repeated exposures to foods creating a tolerance and affinity for certain flavors. My son then stated "that's what happened with broccoli." It is now a vegetable that he eats regularly although he is quick to share that he likes ice cream more.
Sugarcrash Kids S2E5: EAT!
This episode explores what it means to eat healthy. It tells a number of stories that will resonate with kids. For example, getting asked to eat broccoli before being allowed to have another piece of pizza or eating so much cake at a party, that you start to feel sick and have to leave and miss the fun. The style is very engaging and it does a great job of using different voices and background music.
I love the storytelling element which offers a natural transition into asking your child to share his own stories. You might be surprised at the observations and knowledge that your child has about food and eating.
The general message is "it's all about balance." At the end of the episode you can transition into a great conversation with your child about making healthy food choices.
Ear Snacks Episode 1: Fruit
This is a fun, song-based episode that has a healthy dose of silly. It is perfect for toddler and preschool age kids. The episode begins with the ABCs of fruit and then some fun audio of kids talking about fruits and answering silly questions.
While there isn't a strong educational element, there is an engaging conversation by one of hosts at the end of the episode. She tries a mulberry and shares that she really didn't like it. However, the focus was "at least I tried it!"
This episode was embraced by my toddler and we ad lib during the episode with out our fruit names and silly sounds. You might find that your little one finds the hosts to be an overdose of silly!
Other Episodes of interest:
But Why, July 7, 2017 How Do You Make Bread?
But Why, June 22, 2018 Why is Milk White?
Wow in the World, July 27, 2017 Cuckoo for Cocoa: Journey To the Chocolate Forests of South America
The Past and the Curious Episode 7: Food Tales - Potatoes, Tomatoes, Ice Cream Cornucopias and Chicken Pie
Saturday Morning Theatre Episodes 111-113: The Prize Potato Caper Parts 1-3 - The Mysterious Mysteries of Toby Taylor, The Fruit Magician
Story Time Episode 74: The Snack Captain
Story Time Episode 48: Buffy Bunny Can't Cook
Podcasts are a great way to strike up conversations with your picky eater about food in a no pressure and fun way. You might be surprised what your learn and I'm pretty sure you'll get a few belly laughs, too!