When I was about 4 years old, I loathed food. I hated it so much that I always pretended I want to vomit every time a plate was placed before me. My mum tried to get me to eat what she thought I’d like plus the occasional veggies but to no avail. In fact, to this day, she wonders what I survived on!
My own 7 year old daughter eats a plate of food for a painful 2 hours. She will chew and chew forever then take another decade to swallow. Sometimes when you look away, she finds hidden places to tuck away a fork or two. Food is an absolute nightmare for her. My three and a half year old niece insists that the food is ‘muddy’ (whatever that means) and goes on to keep it her mouth for as long as she can.
After talking to different people and reading articles here and there, I realized that getting your child to eat isn’t so hard after all. All you need to do is make the food as interesting as possible. Put the C back in CREATIVITY.
First and foremost, every child loves colour. Brightly coloured foods are naturally more appealing to children. Purchase foods with as many colours as you can find and make their meals bright.
Find out what your child’s obsession is and integrate that into their food. For instance, if your child really likes shapes, you could use a cookie cutter to design their food into the fun shapes that they love. Make heart/star shaped sandwiches instead of the usual rectangular/ squared ones!
A change in presentation will make all the difference. Try making fruit kebabs. I know it sounds a little too much but if you want your child to eat, desperate times call for desperate measures. Sticks filled with cubes of brightly colored fruit are always fun. Include a healthy dip option as well, like yogurt. You know kids love to dip!
If fresh fruit options eventually seem dull, try making a smoothie instead. All you need is a blender, fruit and yogurt. It is just as healthy and even more filling.
Gertrude Mukamusoni, a working mother of four, says she takes her kids shopping. “Taking young kids grocery shopping and involving them in the food preparation process are both important ways to teach them about good food choices and they also make food more fun.”
“Personally I can only handle bringing one child at a time on a trip, but when I do, I like to keep them involved in the process. I let them pick one or two new things each trip that they think they would like to try,” she said.
I think that is as effective a way as any because we all know how kids love to help around in the kitchen. “Involving them in food selection and preparation gives my children an opportunity to see the process of making food and also spend time with me, and that definitely makes things fun although often messy too!” says Gertrude.