Guest Post – Rachel Assuncao, Making Healthy Foods Fun To Eat

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Guest Author, Rachel Assuncao
Do you dread serving vegetables to your kids? I was lucky enough to have a toddler who ate everything, and then one day shortly before her 4th birthday, she decided she hated everything vegetable. It didn’t matter what the color was, whether it was cooked or raw, soft or crispy; if it was a vegetable, she wasn’t going to eat it. The list of fruit was dwindling fast too. I was determined not to give up! I was also determined not to turn food into a power struggle or to resort to those mystery packages of ‘kid food’ to get her to eat. Finding ways to make eating healthy fun for kids became a top priority.

Plenty of trial and error, stretching my imagination, and learning how to think like a kid again helped me to develop a few sure-fire games for making it fun to eat healthy foods:

  • Making Funny Faces: This is one of my favorites! Cut up lots of veggies into different shapes – long thin green beans and slices of bell pepper, circles of cucumber, radish and carrot, wedges of tomato, mushroom caps, cauliflower and broccoli ‘ears’. Everybody starts with a clean plate and the challenge is to make a face – funny, scary, realistic, or wherever your imagination takes you. Take pictures of the faces, turn it into a competition, do whatever it takes to make this fun for your family. The catch is that everyone has to eat the face when they are done – and no creating a new face until the first one is finished. Be sure to serve those faces with favorite dips to make eating the veggies just as fun as playing with them.
  • Fun Eating
    Make Eating Enjoyable With Fun Faces
    Photo courtesy of Rachel Assuncao
  • Favorite Characters Transform Food: It’s a stretch of the imagination, but you can relate just about anything to your child’s favorite TV or movie character. Green smoothies become ‘Shrek juice’, fruit kebabs become Tinkerbell’s fairy wands, sea vegetables are exactly what the Octonauts eat, and don’t forget about international delights that Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, Dora or Diego might be eating. The secret here is to introduce these healthy foods by their new creative name and never breath a word of what it actually is.
  • Hunting for Treasure: The produce section of the grocery store is a mysterious wonderland filled with different colors, shapes, textures and smells. Whether your kids are fairies in search of magical fruit, princes and princesses on the hunt for the kingdom’s lost magical jewels, pirates in search of buried treasure, or secret agents on a top secret mission, turn your weekly shopping for fruits and vegetables into a treasure hunt. The final mission is to choose something they’ve never had before to bring home to try. The secret here is to be completely open – let them get into character (Little J has gone to the store more than once dressed head to toe as her favorite fairy or princess), let them have the run of the store (within reason, of course), and when it comes time for their final choice don’t hesitate, even if you think they’ll never eat it or it’s too expensive. When you’re totally open, they will be too. And kids who know they’ve helped and had fun are more likely to eat what they’ve shopped for too.

Those were the top 3 tricks I’ve used for making healthy foods fun to eat. What games, tricks, or tips do you have to share?

About Rachel Assuncao

— Rachel Assuncao works with women who are ready to make a change – to live healthier, lose weight, and get responsible about creating a life they love. As a health coach, she supports clients around the world via individual or group health coaching via Skype or telephone. Learn more about Rachel

1 Comment

  1. Excellent article Rachel, I loved it – cute picture with the smiley faces. Thanks for allowing guest posts Len. I enjoy them when they are quality articles like today.

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