If you had a choice between a whole grain muffin, and a donut which would you chose? I don’t know about you, but for me, I would always chose the donut. Sprinkles, decadent layers of flakey golden sugar laden goodness, all drizzled with vanilla frosting. Yep, my MIND will always chose the donut because it looks fun!
Our bodies are naturally designed to WANT to chose colorful food. Consider fruit, it was created by design to appeal to our senses. The first caveman that tried a Kiwi must have been extremely hungry. Think about it, he had beautiful red apples, grapes, bold oranges, vibrant yellow bananas all within reach…and then there was the rugged brown kiwi. It had to be the last option, right? Can you imagine his surprise when he discovered that underneath that rough brown surface there was a vibrant delicious, sweet green fruit? Kiwi is the perfect example of not judging a food just by looking at it.
Our kids are the SAME way, except everything to them is that brown KIWI. Sometimes we just need to dangle shiny objects in front of them, so they can discover the deliciousness that lies underneath.
Make Food Fun For Kids
As a parent we are responsible for setting our kid’s eating habits up for success by providing nutritious meals. Ok, so how do I convince my kid that they want an orange every morning instead of the donut? Make food fun!
These are tricks and tips you can keep in your back pocket, in order to make food food fun for your toddler or preschool aged child. *FULL DISCLOSURE I AM NOT AN ARTIST NOR DO I PRETEND TO PLAY ONE ON TV
Five Easy Ways to Make Food Fun For Kids
1. Make Fun Food Faces
If you start looking at food differently, your food will start looking back at you! Have fun with your food and create fun food faces. Did you know that almost all fruit and vegtables can be converted into faces? Carrot hair, tomato eyes, pieces of lunch meat for the face.
Set up an assembly line and ask your kids to help make a face. What would make a good nose? What should we add for the eyes? Asking them to help make the food, will make them more likely to at least try it.
I can bet that your child will be more likely to try a cucumber if it’s a monster “eye”, rather than simply slapped on their plate. Ok so maybe, your child will pick off the “carrot hair” and head straight for the bread but at least they may consider eating the food that Is being offered to them.
Transform pancakes into a fun food face. Use fruit for the nose and eyes and then use food paint (see #2) and draw on a mouth.
2. Use Edible Food Paint
Your toddler’s favorite new way to transform their food, will quickly become edible food paint. Create masterpieces on top of your whole grain peanut butter toast, oatmeal, sandwhiches, bagels or whatever it is your child is into these days. Ok, masterpieces is far fetched but it’s simple to draw something you and your child will love. Food paint is a squeezable jelly-like paint that you can put right onto your food.
The best part is this food paint is 100% organic, dye free, low in sugar and tastes really delicious. My daughter even loves this on top of her hummus (not my favorite flavor mashup, but SHE ASKED FOR HUMMUS)
Need another reason to love food paint? We also use them as finger paint. Grab a piece of paper and let your kiddos go wild painting with their fingers (or paint brush) and if they have a lick, NO WORRIES because its edible (I actually encourage a taste here and there).
Food paint can also easily be added to something to naturally “dye” or change color to a specific food. This would be perfect to add to food during Christmas, Easter or Valentine’s Day.
3. Add Edible Eyes To Your Food
Did you know that if food has eyes, your kid is 99% more likely to eat it? Ok, that fact is completely made up but when I added marshmallow eyes to oranges recently, the appeal factor went up ten fold.
Buy baby marshmallows and cut them in half (the backs will now stick to the fruit) and use an edible marker (yep, that’s a REAL thing, more about that in #4) and dot some eye balls onto the marshmallows. Now just stick them on to whatever food you are hoping your toddler will eat. At the end of the day if you have a picky toddler who won’t eat anything, if they at least eat the eyes, I’d call it a win.
4. Draw On Your Food With Edible Pens
Edible Pens are going to become your favorite way to transform food. These delicious pens can write on many different surfaces, including fruits, vegetables, cookies, crackers, and more. I first used these when I started making edible eyes (see #3), but then realized that they wrote on so many different surfaces. They are cheap AND completely edible.
Draw a cute picture or fun note on your child’s food. Turn crackers into the alphabet and work on letter recognition during snack time.
Jazz up your child’s lunch box meal by writing on a banana, orange or apple with a quick note that says, “I love you” or “good luck.” You can even play games on your food by drawing a fun tick-tack-toe board or word game with your child. Edible pens are a fun way to look and think about food differently.
What Do You Do To Keep Food Fun?
We want to hear from you! What are your tips and ticks to keep food fun for your children? Let us know in the comments. If you have a fun food creation you want to share with Normal Life Mom let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured on our Facebook page.