Your mom may have told you not to play with your food but we believe in the exact opposite. Getting your kids to eat a healthy diet may be a challenge, in part due to the abundant availability of many unhealthy snack foods. We’re here to help you overcome this snack-time problem with healthy snack tricks that will make your kids want to eat their fruits and veggies.
Shape it Up: Some fruits and veggies lend themselves to certain shapes: Strawberries make lovely hearts; Cantaloupe slices are natural smiles; Star fruit look like stars, of course. You can also cut out shapes using small cookie cutters. Squash and zucchini slices are much more edible in fun shapes. Apples make a wonderful pallet for carving shapes as well.
Make Funny Faces: Who can resist an edible funny face? The possibilities are endless. Grapes for eyes, a carrot nose, a banana mouth, green beans hair. Let your little one help you create a super silly face and watch her devour her healthy snack afterwards.
Do the Dipty Dip: Dipping foods always make them more fun to eat. Hummus, tomato sauces or a low-fat ranch dressing are all wonderful dipping choices for celery, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli. The added flavor may also make raw veggies more appetizing.
Smoothie it Out: Smoothies are a great way to pack in some healthy ingredients for kids (and adults). Use a yogurt or milk base to make it smooth and creamy. Let your children help you make smoothies and pick their colors by selecting the fruits and veggies to add. Try a “gross green” with green grapes, spinach and kiwi fruit. How about “outrageous orange” using oranges, carrots and orange tomatoes. Or go for “perfect pink” with strawberries, raspberries and watermelon.
Taste the Rainbow: Make snacks that include every color of the rainbow. When you’re feeling especially crafty, put them in rainbow color order and shape them into a rainbow arch. Or, select a color of the day and focus on fresh foods of that color. This will teach your kids an appreciation for a variety of fruits and vegetables while also learning their colors.
Stick ‘em Up: There is something about putting food on a stick that makes it so much more appealing. Using toothpicks, make small fruit or veggie skewers. You can add cheese for protein as well.
Spell it Out: Spell your child’s name with fruits and veggies. This works especially well with smaller foods such as peas, blueberries, edemame and beans. Your little one will love seeing her name and it’s more likely she’ll want to snack on it too.
So go on, play with your food and encourage your kids to do the same!