Fun Food Activities for Children

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Fun Food Activities for Children

June 18, 2013

Guest Post Written by the Registered Dietitians at Simply Yours Nutrition

Simply-Yours-Nutrition

Have a picky eater?  Tired of mealtime battles?  Including children in choosing, preparing, and cooking is always a good idea as it teaches lifelong skills and allows them to be part of their own healthy eating process.  Try these fun suggestions for a learning experience that promotes healthy eating at the same time.

1)   Food Detective

  • Buy 3 similar fruits or vegetables.  For example, you could buy a red apple, a green apple, and a yellow apple.  Or iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, and spinach.

  • Sit down with your child to talk about how they are different and how they are the same.  They are all apples, they are all about the same size, they are different colours.

  • Together with your child, wash, touch, poke, squish, sniff, lick, and taste.

  • What similarities and differences are there in how they feel and how they taste?  Which one do each of you like the best?

  • Try juicing the apples.  Let them put the apples in and turn the switch on and off.  Kids love switches.  Try the juice together.

Why?  Trying new foods can be intimidating.  This allows your child to experience the food in many different ways.  It may also give you insight into how your child makes choices about eating.  I know I learned that I was buying the wrong colour of apples a lot of the time!

The juicer is noisy hence the need for fluffy purple ear protection.

2)   Food Adventure

  • Take your child to the grocery store or farmer’s market to choose a “different” food.  Take a photo of your child with their choice.

  • With your child, look at pictures of recipes with this particular food.  Allow your child to choose how you are going to prepare the food.

  • Include your child in food preparation as much as possible.  Take photos of your child helping out.

  • Try the food together.  Talk openly about what you did or did not like about it.  Have your child draw a picture of how they felt about the food.

  • Help your child put together a collage the food adventure.

Why? This makes trying a new food less intimidating, and gives your child some control over the process.  They’ll probably try a piece when you aren’t watching.

Even at 3 year and 5 years, kids can be helpful in the kitchen.  Here, they are cutting up zucchinis they picked from the garden.  I didn’t bother encouraging them to try a piece, they just popped it in their mouths.

3)   Food Farmer

  • Help your child to choose seeds for a vegetable garden.  If you don’t have much space, plant the vegetables in a planter or large pot.

  • Assist your child in planting, watering, and caring for their “garden”.

  • Assist your child in harvesting the garden, and enjoy!  For fun, compare the same item from the grocery store with the one from your garden.

Why?  Research supports that children involved in producing their food are more likely to have healthier diets.

The boys picked the potatoes and tomatoes from the garden, washed them and insisted on making mashed potatoes by themselves.  The goatee isn’t real in case you were wondering.

4) Food Art

  • Let your kids serve themselves at mealtimes so they can choose how much they take and where the food goes.

  • Encourage them to make pictures with their food.

  • Talk about the different shapes, colours and textures of different foods.

Why? Playing with your food can be fun.  Even adults enjoy it sometimes!  Giving kids the control over where food goes on their plates and how much they serve themselves is good practice for them.  They may take too much or too little at first, but they will eventually figure out how much is just right.  

Every last bean was eaten from this angry monster plate!

Do you need help with your picky eater?  Email sarah@simplyyoursnutrition.com for more information about phone or skype consultations with a Registered Dietitian.  Receipts available for healthcare benefit plans.

For parents in the Edmonton area, don’t miss out on our upcoming workshops:

  • For Parents of Picky Eaters Workshop, Cafe O’ Play, Riverbend on July 10th

  • Basics of Making Baby Food Workshop, 10127A 124 St. Edmonton on July 9th

For more information and to register check out our website and/or facebook pages under events – www.simplyyoursnutrition.com/Workshops.html , www.facebook.com/simplyyoursnutrition, www.facebook.com/nutritiousbites

Hope to see you there!

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