Kids have opinions, from a very early age. They (think they) know what they do and don’t like, and aren’t shy about letting us know their feelings. I’m sure we’ve all had a bowl of carefully created spaghetti bolognese whizzed onto the floor in disgust, or the finest fruit puree spat back at us, right in our face.
Some kids eat anything put in front of them. Some don’t. Some will for a day or two, or even a week or two, then decide that last week’s favourite is now the grossest thing we’ve ever presented them with. And this can be very, very draining. You want your little ones to have a nice balanced diet (even though I’m sure yours is far from it). So, how can you make food more fun and encourage them to try new things, or re-visit meals that were once a favourite?
It’s by no means guaranteed, but livening up food might make things a little more fun and encourage your small ones to be inquisitive before the knee-jerk ‘screw-their-nose-up’ reaction.
Sausage and mash? No! It’s a hedgehog!
Serve the mash into a hedgehog-like shape. Chop up sausages into bite-sized chunks and stick them in the mash to make the ‘spikes’. Add a couple of peas for eyes and a bit of carrot for a nose.
Plain old sandwich? No! It’s outer space!
Make a sandwich with any of their favourite fillings. Use a star-shaped cookie cutter, a moon-shaped cookie cutter (or get creative with a knife if you don’t have these). Arrange the sandwiches on a plate using other foods to complete your masterpiece – yellow pepper for the sun, cherry tomatoes for other planets, even create a rocket using cucumber and carrot sticks.
Apple and grapes for pudding? No! It’s an octopus!
Liven up a fruit dessert by making a funky octopus out of apples and grapes. Cut the apple in half for the body, arrange grapes in lines coming out from the apple as legs, you can even stick some raisins on the apple for eyes. Mix it up even more with some veg – arrange lengths of cucumber to look like seaweed and blueberries to look like bubbles.
Boiled eggs? No! They’re chicks!
Boil eggs as you normally would – whether soft or hard. Pop them in an egg cup, arrange a piece of carrot to look like a beak, a few thinly sliced yellow peppers to look like feathers and eggs are not boring anymore!
Slice of toast? No! It’s a teddy bear!
Toast some bread and butter it. Then slice some banana and use it to create ears and a nose. Add raisins for the eyes and breakfast suddenly becomes more fun!