Written by Julia Lette
Getting kids to the table and actually eating their food can be a real struggle. However, as developing a healthy attitude towards food starts from a very early age, it is essential to instil wholesome eating habits in your children from the get-go. Fortunately, if you make good, honest food fun and appealing to children, they will be much more likely to not only eat the food but to actually enjoy it too. Here are my top ideas on how to make healthy food fun for kids:
Incorporate their Interests
Whether it be a princess, superhero or monster, kids are always obsessed with a fictional character or two. Find out what their current obsession is and incorporate it into their food. This could mean making a pink princess smoothie filled with healthful fruits or making a green monster soup filled with nutrient-dense vegetables. You'll be amazed at the foods your kids will try if it is somehow associated with their favourite fictional character!
And don’t be afraid to play around with different types of presentations. Kids love colourful and interesting things and you can definitely use that to your advantage when serving them a meal. Use lots of bright and naturally colourful foods and try to serve it up in interesting ways such as making fruit skewers, cutting food into shapes or making the meal into a picture on their plate. These tiny details take no time at all but they could make a big difference to whether or not your child eats the food you prepare.
Involve them in Every Stage
Kids love hands-on activities and getting involved. Involving your children in every stage of the meal preparation process is not only fun for kids, but it will also make them much more likely to eat the food that they have helped prepare.
Taking kids grocery shopping can be difficult at times. However, involving them in this process is a wonderful way to both teach them about good food choices and make food more fun. Let them pick out one or two new fruits or vegetables that they would like to try and teach them about the benefits of certain vegetables in an encouraging way (i.e. spinach will make you strong or carrots are good for your eyes).
After the shopping is done, be sure to involve them in the food preparation process. Kids love helping in the kitchen. Whether it be pressing a button on a blender, stirring ingredients together or lining a muffin tin with muffin liners, participating in this process is an enjoyable way to spend time with your children and it gives them an amazing sense of achievement.
Involving kids in the food selection and preparation process gives children the opportunity to see and be involved in the process of making food. What better way to make food fun for kids and to ensure they eat the food that they have lovingly prepared?
Turn it into a Game
It's so easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same meals with the same ingredients week in and week out. Not only does this lead to boredom, but it also prevents you from being able to feed your children the variety of foods they require for good health. Why not turn trying new foods into a game?
Kids love games and they love being rewarded. Prepare a simple board game with stepping stones and a finish line. Every time your child tries a new food, they move one stepping stone closer to the finish line. When they reach the finish, reward them with a non-food reward such as a new book or a trip to their favourite activity centre. I have no doubt your kids will be going out of their way to try new things if there's a reward in sight! Not only will this make the process of eating and trying new things more fun for kids, but it also might help them realise that they do actually like more foods than they initially thought.
Making food fun need not be a laborious task. These ideas are so simple and they will make mealtimes much more fun for the entire family. As an added bonus, you will be instilling in your children wholesome eating habits from a very young age and this will guide them towards living a healthy and happy life.