Child Feeding Tip: Simple Ways to Make Food Fun
One of the most common complaints I hear from parents that I work with is that food can be challenging for their kids and meal times are a struggle.
Maybe you have found this to be true for your own kiddos, where trying to get your child to eat can feel like a hopeless battle.
Food should be both nourishing and pleasurable, but how can you make this possible when feeding your kid feels more like pulling teeth?
Be encouraged, sweet mama, and know that you are not alone. There are simple ways you can begin making food and mealtimes feel more enjoyable, not only for your child but for the entire family. And no, you don’t have to make extravagant dishes or go the extra mile to make this happen.
Check out some suggestions below that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine:
Involve your child in the meal planning process
Allowing kids the opportunity to have a say in some of the family meals can empower them as well as help them look forward to mealtimes. If you are mapping out your meals for the week, let your child decide what the family should eat for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal.
Depending on their age, they may need a little guidance from you, but this can make food much more fun for them. Give them flexibility to choose what they like or incorporate their favorite foods and plan the meal around their choices. Involving kids in meal prep can also be a way for them to become more comfortable in the kitchen and see how meals are put together.
Make food interactive
There are many different ways you can give kids opportunities to interact with their food, making it more exciting and enjoyable. Some ideas might include:
Serving food on skewers: Putting anything on a stick can make it more fun and interesting for kids to eat. My kiddos love eating fresh fruit on a stick and dipping in yogurt for a healthy snack. You can deconstruct many dishes and put them on sticks, like fresh veggies with cheese and meat slices, or bite-sized grilled cheese skewers with tomato soup for dipping. When eating is fun, kids (and mamas) will find food more enjoyable. Safety tip: Please be sure to cut the sharp ends of skewers before serving to kids and always be sure to supervise when eating!
Offer dips: Letting your child dip or dunk their foods can also be a way to make food more fun more them. Ideas might include fruit and yogurt, veggies and hummus, crackers in soup, etc.
Make it interesting: Using different cookie cutters to make shapes from food or try slicing/cutting foods into various ways can perk kids interest in trying something new. Different tools in the kitchen can help with this, like spiralizing foods or using a mandoline for making different cuts, like matchsticks, waffle cuts, or thin slices.
Switch up where you eat
You don’t have to be confined to your dinner table for meal times! Pack up your meal and a blanket and take the kids on a mealtime adventure. Depending on the weather, you can eat outside or at a local park. You can even stay at home and eat family style on the living room floor. There are endless possibilities, and your kids will enjoy spending time together and eating somewhere different for a change of scenery.
Start a family mealtime tradition
Most dinner times, we play the “Guessing Game” with our kids, where we have to ask yes and no questions to guess the Disney character a person is thinking of. While simple, it’s a fun way to interact with our kids and bond as a family over our meal.
Having some kind of mealtime tradition can give your kids something to look forward to at the dinner table and make eating times enjoyable. It all keeps mealtimes low pressure, which is an important aspect of encouraging kids that will help your child develop a healthy relationship with food.
What are things you like to do to make food fun and enjoyable for your family?