Some kids just won’t eat vegetables, let alone allow them near their plate! Some won’t eat it unless it’s orange, fun to play with, or covered in ketchup.
My sister had a thing for butter when she was a kid. And my mom actually let her have it! Sticks, tubs, you name it. Amazingly enough, today she is beautiful, healthy and thin as a stick. Leaving me to wonder: where’d all that butter go?
Obviously, children have magical powers and metabolisms that allow them to survive on just about anything. But shouldn’t we at least try to get them to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet? We all know you can’t force a child to eat something. It just won’t happen. So how do you get them to try new things and eat healthy?
Experts recommend games. Laughter and adventure can go a long way with a child in just about any situation! Not to mention it can make them feel happy and loved.
Here’s 3 creative games that could make all the difference in getting your picky eater to chow down:
1. Dino Din-Din. Most preschoolers love dinosaurs. And usually, your children will know more dinosaur names than you! If you and your children are not so familiar with dinosaurs and their eating habits, read a dinosaur book before dinner.
How to play: This is a story-telling game. You are the narrator and the kids are actors. Instruct your kids that they will be magic dinosaurs for the evening and that you have prepared some dinosaur favorites. Bonus: let them choose their dinosaur names! Begin the story with “Once upon a time there was a magic dinosaur that could change into any kind of dinosaur. He loved to eat. In fact, food gave him his magic powers…” Bottom line: When you say “I see a Tyrannosaurus Rex at my table! T-Rex loves meat!” Tell the kids to turn into a T-Rex by eating the meat on their plate. Next say, “Brontosaurus has a long neck and loves to eat plants! Do I see a Brontosaurus eating green leaves?” In addition to getting your children to (hopefully) eat their veggies, this game is a great exercise in memory and learning.
2. Musical Plates. This variation of musical chairs works best at snack time. You can use place mats on the floor instead of chairs at the dinner table if you want.
How to play: Judge the amount of plates and food by how many are playing. Keep in mind that your kids may only take one bite—the point of the game is to at least get them to try something new. The child that eats all of their snacks wins!
Put one kind of snack on each plate, for example, carrot sticks, apple slices on another, etc…(Try to put one or two fun snacks out that you know they’ll be excited about).
The game works just like Musical Chairs, except no kids get eliminated! The point is to keep them eating their healthy snack until the game is over.
3. Rainbow Tongues. You probably know that beets will turn your tongue red, blueberries blue and so on—they can stain your clothes and carpet pretty badly too, so be careful!
How to play: There’s not much to this game! First, eat some blueberries and show your kids how your tongue changes color! Then, tempt them to have a competition to see who can get their tongue the darkest. You could even use food coloring to turn just about any healthy foods into fun! What kid wouldn’t love to eat green eggs and ham with mom?
What has worked for you? How do you get your picky eater to try new foods?