Ideas for Mealtime Fun
Calling a Truce on the Food Fights
Tired of the nightly food fights? Believe it or not, every meal doesn’t have to be a battle. The key is to keep it fun, be consistent, and engage your kids during the process. The more involved they are in making meals, the more likely they’ll be to enjoy them.
Cooking With the Kids
It’s no secret: Kids love to be involved. Finding ways to involve them in the cooking process can help your kids take pride in (and credit for!) the outcome. Look for a healthy, kid-friendly cookbook for recipes you can prepare together.
Take your kids grocery shopping with you, and involve them in the shopping process. Know in advance some of the meals you’ll be preparing, and ask for your kids’ input while you shop. They’ll feel more invested in the preparation of the meal if they have something to do with deciding what goes into it.
Let your kids create the dinner menu every once in a while. Have them pick out the ingredients and help prepare the meal for the family. Not only will this stimulate their creativity — by the time they’re finished, they’ll be proud to bring something to the table (and no doubt it’ll be something interesting!).
Play Host or Hostess
If they’re not in the mood to help cook, there are plenty of other ways your kids can participate during mealtime. Get them involved by letting them:
- Fold the napkins into animals or shapes
- Set the table
- Call the family to dinner
- Announce tonight's "specials"
- Compliment the "chef"
- Help put away the leftovers
- Clean up the table
Bring Some Fun to the Table
Play With Your Food
Warning: This might get messy. Up for some friendly competition? Make a meal with colorful foods that can be molded easily. Have your family use the food on their plates to create works of art. Instead of voting on who made the “best” creation, award each person a title (most creative, best use of color, etc.).
Take a Dinner Vacation
Travel the world by serving up international or regional flavors at dinnertime. Make it a family activity by customizing and printing your own placemats with interesting facts or simple games from the chosen location.
Name That Food
Eating Boris Broccoli is a lot more fun that eating plain old broccoli. Come up with fun, silly names for foods and encourage your kids to do the same. If it’s a food they’re reluctant to eat, try building a story around the “food characters” to help pique their interest.