Feeding children can sometimes become a tedious task for parents. Mealtime in some houses could resemble a war-torn situation with lots of yelling, shouting, and crying with food sprayed around the floor and parents sighing with exasperation and hopelessness when the child just refuses to eat.
Feeding children could be an incredibly stressful affair for many parents, primarily due to this reason. Some kids are overly choosy about what they eat and what they do not.
To avoid this drama, parents often resort to foods that children tend to eat without much fuss. However, parents often worry whether their kids are getting the required nutrients that they need for their growth and development.
In such scenarios, parents can make the eating process fun by creating colourful meals for kids by using the natural colours of vegetables and ingredients.
It is a common perception that ingredients and taste are all that matter when it comes to food for children. How the food looks is only important, maybe for adults or in fancy fine dining restaurants. Ample studies have shown that the visual appeal of the food on the plate plays a significant role in how children perceive food and hence, their willingness to eat.
This blog presents some ideas that parents can use to make eating time more fun and colourful for their kids.
1) Shape of fruits
Parents can be creative with the shapes with which the food is presented. For example, instead of just cutting a watermelon into randomly shaped pieces, try cutting those pieces in various fascinating shapes such as stars, circles, triangles, or even flower or heart-shaped. There are cookie cutters easily available that can be used to cut the fruits in a variety of shapes.
You will notice that a boring fruit bowl suddenly starts looking interesting and attractive, and your child who was averse to eating fruits is now eagerly munching on them with joy.
2) Fruit Custard/Pudding
Custard and puddings decorated with creatively cut colourful fruits is another excellent idea to make eating fun and colourful for the kids.
The colourful and meaningfully shaped fruits will make eating a fun and engaging process for the kids and relieve the much-needed stress from the parents.
3) A different-shaped dosa/pancake/chapati/parantha
We are so used to making a circular, oval or sometimes triangular dosa/pancake/chapati/paranthas. Next time you make one, why not experiment by making it in a different and more interesting shape, for example, consider a smiley-faced paratha or dosa. You can use colourful ingredients such as oranges, cherries, or bananas to make the food more attractive and appealing to the child.
4) Do away with square-shaped sandwiches
Bread is square-shaped, and so are all the sandwiches and cheese spreads we make from bread. Why not experiment with different shapes? Bread is conducive to be cut in the shape of your choice.
For example, why can your next sandwich not look like a butterfly or an elephant? Ingredients such as cheese, jam, butter, etc. can be used to make the sandwich more colourful and fun.
5) Grilled vegetable rainbow
Vegetables are extremely good for health, especially for children. Green vegetables are even more so. However, all vegetables need not be green. Vegetables of a variety of colours, such as sweet corn, broccoli, red capsicum, yellow capsicum, beetroot, tomatoes, red cabbage, etc. to create a veggie grill on a skewer which resembles a colourful rainbow.
Children will find this fascinating and happily munch on their much-needed veggies.
6) Use edible sprinkles
Edible sprinkles are another easy way to make food colourful and tasty. Sprinkles go well with all kinds of foods, fruits, and vegetables. They however contain sugar and must be consumed with caution about the quantity used.
7) Food play
One of the easiest ways to engross children with food is to make them play around with their food and ingredients.
Give them a set of colourful fruits and vegetables and engage them in a game using the same.
For example, ask them to create a piece of visual art using the colourful fruits and vegetables provided to them. They can create a house with carrots, onions, tomatoes, radishes, and other colourful fruits and vegetables.
You can also ask your kids to make their dish with the ingredients you provide. Let them be as creative as they can. You choose the ingredients so you have ensured they consume the necessary nutrients.
If cooking feels like a big task, here is a fun idea: let your kids do the plating! Give them the food you have made and encourage their creativity in how they arrange it on the plate. Watch their imagination run wild as they create colourful and exciting meal presentations.
For example, how about creating a mountain with rice, placing the lentils as a river flowing through the mountains and using round-cut carrots as the sun sets at dusk?
At EuroSchool, we believe that involving kids in meal preparation and making food visually appealing can inspire a love for nutritious eating. By incorporating these fun ideas into your kids’ meals, you can not only introduce your child to a variety of vegetables but also create enjoyable bonding experiences in the kitchen.