True beauty lies within our hearts, our health and our passions. My passions include knitting, promoting wellness and being amidst the company of beautifully authentic people.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

When Its Ok to Play With Your Food

This evening's post was inspired by a number of friends who have expressed at one time or another that they would like for their younger children to eat more fruits and vegetables, or to try them at all.

The solution is not nearly as complicated as it may seem, and there are a dozen or more ways in which to approach this issue.   For starters:
  • Eat them yourself (fruits and vegetables, that is...please, no nibbling on the children). Children are quicker to 'do as we do' rather than 'do as we say do', period. 

  • Have fruits and veggies in plain sight at ALL times.  (Keyword: 'ALL') Garnish every meal's plate with something 'live' whether it gets eaten or not.  What's in your fruit bowl?  Hopefully it isn't filled with this week's mail, keys, loose change, or worse, artificial fruit.  Raw fruits and vegetables are truly the only real 'fast food', no long lines, just wash and eat!

  • Don't sneak them in. There really isn't a need to trick them into eating fruits and veggies, they're naturally yummy.   It really isn't worth the risk of getting caught...precious brownie points are at risk here.  Besides, if someone did that to me, I'd be quite upset, wouldn't you?

  • Get them involved.  Children take delight in picking out fruit or vegetables that aren't bruised, look sweet or smell fragrant from the supermarket.  Allow them to help make a salad for dinner, challenging them to incorporate all of the colors of the rainbow.

  • Aw let 'em play with their food!  (See photos throughout this post)  You just may see some finger licking or sampling going on.  It has been my experience that husbands love to play with their veggies too!

  • Use your 'trump card' or provide a 'trade off' if you must.  My 5 yr old grazes heavily during the day but prefers a light meal in the evening.  A trump card for her may be not so much 'If you finish your dinner', rather, 'If you finish your broccoli, you can have your dessert'.  An example of a 'trade off' that she usually suggest would be, 'Mom, can I just eat my salad, I don't want the rice.'  Both scenarios are a win in my book.
As a demonstration of how some of these suggestions would look, my little ones were only too excited to help out with this project.  The rules were simple, 1.  no eating (you'd have to know my kids to know how difficult this request was for them), 2. be creative, and make the fruits and veggies look yummy enough for kids who don't know how good they taste to want to try them, and 3.  have fun.   The broke the first two rules at one time or another and each one reported on the other.  But the number question they kept asking was, 'Moooooooom, when can we eat the fooooood?!'

Safety knives

A Rocket Ship

The Boat actually floats!

Good health to you all.  And remember, play with your food...its OK.


  1. Thank you knit-a-purl, I have such cool kids.

  2. Donna - I love this post. I agree we should not be tricking our children into eating certain foods. What a great idea. I'm always trying to incorpate greens and fruits in her daily diet. I am positive my daughter will love playing with her food. (As I'm always telling her not too. Bad mom!).


  3. Thank you for your comment Francesca! You rock!