Photo by Mokkasin
As a veteran mom, I can attest to the fact that sometimes, getting your kids to actually sit down and eat is one hundred times harder than it sounds. In fact, sometimes I just feel like giving up when my toddler refuses to eat. And I do live by the idea that as long as I can get something healthy into him, clearing his plate isn’t such a big deal. But along the way, I’ve also learned some pretty fantastic tricks to making fun lunches for kids – and today, I’m going to share all of my secrets with you!
A super cute idea that makes eating fruit fun, even after Halloween. Try hollowing out an orange peel and cutting a jack-o-lantern face into the front. Then fill with your child’s favorite fruits – grapes, berries and sliced citrus. It’s perfect for those days when your child is avoiding the ‘fruit’ section of their plate. And if you let them fill their orange peel cup with fruit, they’ll be even more intrigued – and willing to eat!
Everyday sandwiches can be easy to make and tasty for your kiddos, but not all that exciting to eat. To mix things up, try using your child’s favorite cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of this essential lunchtime meal. Making lunch fun can help encourage your child to eat – and by offering their meal in a favorite, unexpected shape, they’ll be much more likely to do just that!
Make eating a game by cutting your child’s sandwich into nine squares as a tic-tac-toe board! Then include bite sized pieces of fruit, veggies and cheese so they can have fun while they eat. They can play while they munch. When you make lunch a game, it’s a lot more fun for the kids to chow down!
Sometimes, if you let your child play chef in the kitchen, they’ll be more prone to actually eat what’s on their plate. This is when english muffin pizzas can be a lifesaver. Lay out your ingredients – english muffins, sauce, cheese and veggies – and let them create. Pop the pizzas in the oven for ten minutes and you’ll have a delicious, healthy lunch that your little ones are sure to scarf down.
Know what kids think is a blast? Eating breakfast for lunch. Know what’s even better for moms? Minimizing the dishes you have to clean up after lunch. Mix up your favorite pancake recipe, but instead of pouring circles, pour straight lines of batter on your pan. As they’re cooking, make a little dish of syrup for each child. Viola! Pancake dippers. They’ll think you’re the coolest mom on the block – and no silverware to clean up after!
I don’t know about you, but my toddler is much better at actually eating lunch when everything on his plate is bite sized finger foods. And he also loves kebabs – so why not combine the two? To make this fun treat, use kebab skewers and alternate bite-sized sandwich squares, pieces of cheese, meat sticks and their favorite fruits – they’ll love taking each piece off as they go – it’s way more fun than eating off a plate, mom.
Speaking of bite sized foods, sometimes all you have to do is cut everything on your child’s plate up into small pieces and show them how to use a toothpick to eat – hors d’oeuvres style! Not only will they eat more, they’ll work on their fine motor skills over the lunch hour. Just make sure that you watch the little ones so that they don’t get too crazy with the toothpicks and poke each other at the table!
Finding creative ways to encourage your child to eat is a great way to make eating fun. And when they enjoy the process, they’re more likely to eat a variety of foods on their plate. In our house, anything I can do to make meal time run smoothly – and be less of a battle – is a positive. Follow these tips – and if you have your own fun food tips, don’t forget to share them in the comments!