5 Ways to Introduce Fermented Foods to Kids

Every parent knows how hard it can be to change the eating habits of a child. Kids that are accustomed to eating processed foods will balk at mom’s or dad’s attempt to clean up the family diet. So if you want to introduce fermented foods to your kids, keep reading for tips and tricks from someone who has been there/done that.

When introducing fermented foods to kids for the first time, it’s a good idea to go slowly. Kids thrive on routine, they need to know what to expect every day, and they dislike change. To overcome these obstacles, make their food as attractive as you can, especially when offering something new, like fermented foods. Here are five ways to get you going on the right foot.

5 Ways to Introduce Fermented Foods to Kids

Start slowly

When your gut is not used to the good beasties found in fermented food, eating them in large quantities can cause a disturbance in there. Offer your kids a taste of sauerkraut to start. If they like it, start with small helpings. If they don’t like their first taste, try again or try a different recipe.

Make it available

Just having a new food on the table gets the family used to it being around. If the kids see mom and dad eating it, they may want to try it, too. Only present a small portion, so that it looks like a special treat.

Sneak it in

Hiding fermented foods in recipes is not as hard as you may think. One example is the Reuben sandwich—corned beef and sauerkraut. With the bread, meat, cheese, and special sauce to produce some of the flavors, the focus is off the new food—sauerkraut. Andrea shared Five Sneaky Ways to Serve Sauerkraut in a previous post. And here are a few more ideas:

• Grate fermented carrots into salad

• Add sauerkraut to a salad

  • Use fermented mushrooms as a garnish
  • Add sauerkraut to a salad
  • Use fermented mushrooms as a garnish
  • Add fermented garlic to anything you are cooking (at the end of the cooking time)
  • Add a slice of fermented lemon to a glass of tea or kombucha

Replace foods they already love

Do your kids already eat yogurt? Replace the store brand with homemade. Homemade yogurt contains the probiotics you want your family to have without the high fructose corn syrup and artificial food coloring. What about salsa? Try this fermented salsa recipe. Replace their favorite carbonated beverage with kombucha, water kefir, or homemade ginger ale. Start creating lacto-fermented pickles to replace the store-bought variety.

Create snack foods

Try making Everything but the Kitchen Sink—a mixture of vegetables in one jar. Mindie from The (mis)Adventures of a “Born Again” Farm Girl did this and it was fork fight time at her house. The mixture gives the kids a variety of choices from one jar. Fermented carrot sticks, pickles, or little trees (broccoli) might also entice your wee ones to eat better. For a serious winner, try these kombucha Jello bites that I found at Dirty Floor Diaries.

Let them help

One sure-fire way to win the heart of your child is to do something with him. If you are not yet cooking with your child, now is the time to start. And fermented veggies are a healthy alternative to baking cookies. Little tikes can do all the pounding that sauerkraut requires. Older kids can cut up the produce. If your child isn’t old enough to use a knife, let him pack the jars, apply the lids and airlocks, and write the date on top. Measuring salt and mixing brine can also be done by a child.


What about you? What tricks did you pull out of your hat to introduce fermented foods to your kids? Please share them with us in the comments. Then, visit the Fermentools store for fermentation lids for Mason jars, made in the USA to last a lifetime.


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