Monday, January 9, 2012

Making Meal Time Fun

Sometimes, getting my family to eat a healthy meal feels like a job that I'm not very good at. And from the way my sproutlets occasionally act, I'm guessing they feel like they're the ones who have the tough job of eating those healthy meals. Who wants meal time to be a battle? Not me! But I also don't want them leaving the table with not so full tummies and not so healthy bodies. What can I do to make my family's dinners both a good time and good for them?

Well, like Mary Poppins said, "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and - SNAP - the job's a game! " So, I've been on the lookout for ways to find the fun in eating a balanced meal. Here are a few healthy eating games & activities I've found so far:

The Rainbow Kit from Today I Ate A Rainbow - Challenge your kids to complete their rainbow of fruits & veggies each day. We have this one, and the friendly competition with their siblings has encouraged my sproutlets to try veggies they had previously refused!  The website also has a cute song and videos, and links to more healthy eating fun & games.

The FREE printable Family Dinner Kit from Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children features menu planners, a recipe book, activity & colouring placemats, family mad-libs & other word games, and more! I haven't tried this one yet, but only because we are out of printer ink :)

Crunch a Color - The Healthy Eating Game card game, and free printable reward chart, conversation starters, and more from Crunch a Color. Another one I haven't yet tried but plan to! If your family has tried this one, I'd love to hear about it if you want to leave a comment or post on my facebook page!

The Garden Heroes Food Nutrition Kit from Learning ZoneXpress makes nutrition fun with game sheets, stickers, an activity book, plush Garden Heroes veggie characters, and downloadable activities.

And here are a few tips for making healthy meals go more smoothly:

Let the kids help! Whether it's with the shopping, menu planning, or even meal prep/cooking, kids are more likely to want to try a food they were involved with getting to the table. I've seen this work with my own sproutlets. I admit I have a tendency to just do it all myself because it's quicker and less messy - but I really should let them help more.

Keep offering foods again and again - even if they've been refused again & again. It might take many tries before a child is ready to accept a new food (and many could mean 12, or 20 or more, depending how resistant your child is... don't give up too soon)! I've been told this from Pickle's speech pathologist, read it in many a nutrition publication, heard it from other parents, and seen it prove true at my own table - eventually :)

Bella trying beets!

Eat with your kids, and eat what you want them to eat. Let them see you enjoying your meal, and the time together as a family. Comment on your meal and how good it tastes... but be aware of the Phrases that Help and Hinder!

I found a bunch more great tips here: Be a Healthy Role Model for Children - 10 tips for setting good examples. I especially like the idea of naming a food that a child helps make! At least that child might be more likely to try it :)  

Disclaimer:  This post has not been endorsed by any of the companies associated with any of these products, and other than receiving a Rainbow Kit to review (though not for this post, for an upcoming post) I have not been compensated in any way. I just think they seem like useful and fun tools and wanted to share them :)


  1. We're starting a Balanced Eating Fun Series on our blog I'd love to link this post into it. I love your site and am so glad I found it!

  2. christie1/12/2012

    Love the phrases that help and hinder! Thanks for the tips. :)

  3. Thanks! Kim, I just checked out your blog - following you now - it's wonderful! I would love it if you linked my post to it, thank you :)


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