Toddlers love food. It can be spread across the table, ailment smeared over your sleeves or trodden throughout the house. Anything but eaten.
By using fun names and incorporating lots of colour it’s possible to get them eating Brussel sprouts, a feat you might have, until now, considered unfathomable.
Looks count for a lot. It’s particularly important when introducing new foods, or trying again with something they didn’t previously like. If food isn’t visually appealing, toddlers are reluctant even before they taste it which can be very frustrating for us. All you need is a bit of imagination, creativity and a whole lot of patience when making meal times fun with toddlers.
Here are some fun ideas with fruit
If these ideas look too much like hard work, just remind yourself of the work involved in trying to get a fussy eater to finish their food. Or even start it.
Some other tips for making toddler meals more enticing include:
- Shaping the food with cookie cutters – it has to be the easiest way to make food more appealing.
- Using different plates/containers for each type of food. Lots of little containers of food helps give them a sense of independence and ownership. For example, try putting apple slices in colourful paper cups or sultanas.
- Eat somewhere different. Make a little picnic and eat in the backyard on a blanket (it’s easier to clean up too!). Mixing it up by inviting friends over to join the in chaos sometimes works too. Adding a different dynamic like this can make all the difference when getting them to try eating something new.
- Use the ‘have three bites then I will give you something else (healthy)’ trick. It’s been the normal routine whenever my six year old son is introduced to something new. Often it works and extends the limited list of food he is prepared to eat.
My kids love to pour over cookbooks displaying novelty cakes, dreaming of which one they’d like for their next birthday. Of course, they tend to include chocolate, which adds enormously to the appeal. But if the same sense of fun can be applied to everyday foods you’ll find you’re onto a winner.
I have to confess, though. I can’t make any guarantee over the Brussel sprouts.