Making Food Fun

Making Food Fun

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Making Food Fun

Mealtimes can be stressful for a variety of reasons — picky kids, picky parents, not knowing what to serve, and fussy kids can all come together to create occasional chaos.

I find that I always have to be on top of my game, which means one step ahead of the kiddos, at mealtimes! I try to serve them at least one food I know they will eat, at least one more adventurous item that I think they don’t like but want them to try, and other foods that they will probably eat — I never really know since they are always changing their minds about their favorite foods.

I have learned to set my expectations low and hope that they exceed them. It has taken time for me to learn to trust my kids to know how much they need to eat at any given meal, and it has helped me to define out loud to them that it is my job to decide what goes on their plates and their job to decide how much to eat. It is easier philosophically than in practice, though, for sure!

Here are a few ideas to try next time you have a fussy kid at the table:

  1. Cutting food into fun shapes (bell pepper letters are pictured above) — this can be done prior to serving the meal or at the table with the kids!
  2. Using fun utensils like these bento forks — Just be aware of any choking concerns and use your own best judgment on age-appropriateness
  3. Guessing Game — I will close my eyes and guess which food you decided to try! My kids love this and it can turn the mood around really fast from fussy to fun!
  4. Kiss the food — Model giving their food a kiss and encourage them to do the same!
  5. Feed the dinosaur (placemat) — Sometimes, if we need something different, I will use the dinosaur placemat and start “feeding” the dinosaur and saying, “I think the dinosaur likes to eat this!” They usually laugh and then get in a better mood to eat!
  6. Race to Finish — this is a game that I printed and laminated from The Superkids Activity Guide. It encourages kids to reach the finish of the game and along the way asks them to try different foods on their plate. My preschooler liked this once he found races & games fun!
  7. Play music — Sometimes turning on some music brightens the mood & makes everyone happier!
  8. Take a break — Sometimes mealtime just needs to end or be paused. Depending on the stage of the meal, sometimes I just end the meal and go straight to bath, and other times I put on a quick video and then come back to the meal. As you already know if you are reading this, every day is a new adventure!

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