Teaching your kids healthy eating habits does not always have to consist of dos and don’ts. Instead of trying to win each battle over your child’s food preferences, a little playfulness can sometimes get you much further.
Children are naturally creative. It’s part of how they learn. Preparing food can be a highly creative activity. Like painting, sculpting, music or dance, cooking and arranging food requires a lot of attention to detail and love for the work that goes into it.
Children Are Naturally Creative
So encourage your kids’ creative talents and provide them with the necessary tools. This does not have to be a complex or expensive enterprise. A few cleverly assembled pieces of fruit can be turned into a face or a whole figure that gives everyone a good giggle. Bread slices covered with colorful veggies, or pancakes and waffles topped with fruit are prime ingredients for funny food displays.
Your creations don’t have to be perfect or of any artistic value. Keep it simple. What matters more is that you share something everyone can enjoy. Of course, getting your kids interested in healthy eating is an added bonus.
Start with simple arrangements of a selection of fruits. For example, you can assemble bananas, grapes, apples, pears and other items in ways that make them look like funny faces or little figurines. You and your kids can experiment with different forms and shapes for as long as you want – and then enjoy eating your “art work” with great delight.
Pancakes are great canvases for all sorts of presentations. Kiwi slices topped with berries make great eyes. Strawberries are perfect for big red noses. And a banana turns a mouth into a big grin.
You can work similarly with salads and vegetables, except that most of these will have to be cooked before you serve them as a meal.
Even young children can help garnish plates. Let them add a little humor to their presentations. Tomatoes, carrots and green beans can be great design elements.
Sandwiches are also easy to make. Creating playful combinations of breads, lunch meats, cheese and other toppings can make for wonderful entertainment around the kitchen table.
Playing with food allows kids to become more familiar with a greater variety of food items. It helps them to expand their palate in their own ways. For parents, it can be a clever teaching tool, and they themselves benefit greatly from the experience.