A few weeks ago, Jessica from Found the Marbles shared a classroom exercise her son had done. They changed all the vegetable names to make them more exciting. The experiment was done to see if changing the name of vegetables makes them more tasty… or more wanted.
Friends make fun our our dinners. You see, my kids are good eaters. Raw vegetables are served for dinner or snack nearly every day and, often, my kids bring them to school. For the past three weeks, Middle has begged me to make Stuffed Peppers (it’s on the menu for diner tonight, finally.)
But not everyone family has it so easy. Just yesterday I talked with a mom who was visiting a nutritionist in hopes of finding ways to help her son eat better foods.
5 ways to make vegetables more enticing
Play with your food!
Cut small pieces and slices of vegetables in a variety of colors such as peppers, carrots, zucchini (green and yellow), olives and more. Put out toothpicks and invite your kids to play. Creations will vary–from happy faces to dogs… to who knows what, so have your camera ready. While you’re eating, put out a little dip and let your sneak a few snacks, hoping they’ll follow your lead. These Fred and Friends Food Face, Boy (available in Fred & Friends Ms Food Face Plateas well) start the fun designs going. Just lay down the rule: if you’re going to play with your food, you need to eat it, too.
Vegetables are so much more fun when they’re a tool. Put out a variety of dips from hummus to dill to salsa to ketchup and cut vegetables down to dipping size. Discuss which dip tastes best with which vegetable (meaning– you have to actually try it first to decide.) While there are an unlimited number of dip ideas on the internet, a colorful dip cookbook is good to have on hand. Or just let your kids experiment with sour cream, mayonnaise, cheeses and spices. (Just remember to run out of crackers and chips for dipping.)
Give your kids the knife
I know… Little kids aren’t supposed to have knives, but many butter knives and this Curious Chef 3-Piece Nylon Knife Setare kid-safe (obviously, don’t let your kids use them without you there, and use your best judgement as to whether cutting with a knife is appropriate for your child). Enlisting your child to help you prepare dinner makes it more likely they’ll eat. And what kid can resist cutting peppers and not tasting just one?
This may take some adjusting for your family, but schedule snacks so that when the kids come home from school there’s only one snack out–keeping kids out of the pantry and away from the sweet stuff. Most days, after a long day at school, kids are starving and will eat nearly anything. So work ahead and slice up some peppers, put out a few tomatoes and let them dig in. (Really, who cares if they fill up before dinner when they’re eating healthy?)
Play the name game
Thanks to Jessica from Found the Marbles for sharing this idea. Create a renaming game and rename several vegetables. Then talk about these newly named vegetables as you taste them. “Ooooh. This Rottedcar is delicious! I just love the big orange crunch!” “Did you try this Sunny Baseball? It’s sweeter and juicier than the Rosy one.” Make it a game–every time you call something the wrong name you have to try a new one.
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