Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We Eat With Our Eyes First

Ever hear the saying "we eat with our eyes first"? It's true, how our food is presented makes a difference! We eat with our eyes - then our mouths. 
And kids are no exception! I know my kids are more likely to try a food that's presented as part of a theme, or cut into a cute shape.

Which would your kidlet choose...  this?
We Eat With Our Eyes - Kids Meal Before
 Or this ? It's the same meal, a minute later :)
We Eat With Our Eyes - Kids Meal After

I know which one my preschooler prefers! She pointed to the second photo and said "I want that flower garden lunch".  She was very pleased when I put it in front of her. She didn't used to, but now she eats the celery, ever since I first made it into a flower stem.

We Eat With Our Eyes - 10 Ways To Give Meals Kid Appeal
We Eat With Our Eyes - 10 Ways To Give Meals Kid Appeal
Flower egg made using star egg mold
and large egg rather than extra-large.
Here's another example: My 3 year old, excited about her egg!
She wouldn't eat eggs until I gave her one shaped like a flower :)

You don't need to be a bento artist!

There are lots of ways to make a pretty presentation that don't require any artistic skill. And kids are pretty easy to please! For school lunches, remember that kids will probably bang their lunchbox around, so don't get too fancy, and fill the container so stuff is less likely to get jumbled about. You can use a cloth napkin to fill empty space and hold things in place :)

10 easy & fun ways to make kid's meals more appealing:

  • Arrange foods pleasingly. Neat stacks or rows rather than heaps. 
  • Cut food in bite sizes and skewer it with cupcake picks, bento picks, kebab sticks, party picks, even swizzle sticks/drink stirrers! Food on a stick looks more fun - like party food!
  • Separate foods and keep them neat with silicone baking cups or other small containers. This is also a useful way to add colour.
  • Cookie cutters are handy to cut shapes from foods that can be sliced, like cheese, small sandwiches, some veggies... some play dough cutters work too - raid the craft cupboard!
  • If your kidlets don't have issues with food dye, you can add smiles or other details with food colouring markers.
  • Do more than cut the crusts off the PB&J, use sandwich cutters to make characters and shapes.
  • Use special molds to shape rice, hard-cooked eggs, mashed sweet potatoes, even stuffed sandwiches. 
  • Keep fruit from browning by dipping it in juice containing citrus acid, or sprinkle with Fruit-Fresh
  • Use baking sprinkles to add a dash of fun to plain yogurt.
  • Serve food on fun dishes. Muffin tins are a favourite of my girls!

We Eat With Our Eyes - Muffin Tin Meal with Kid Appeal


Here are some of the things I use to turn my kids' lunches into eye candy.  If you bake or entertain, you may already have a lot you can use!


  1. Great post! Fun looking food is more appealing and yours looks amazing "after"!

  2. Absolutely brilliant. I know my kiddos love eating even more when their food has "flair". Thank you for all of the great tips. I really like the muffin tin idea!!

  3. Looks good and easy to prepare. Simplicity in making lunches look great!

  4. I have to say, your blog is a great inspiration. My baby boy just turned one and I've been stashing away ideas from you to try out for him as he gets into more meal-type feedings. Keep it up! I love seeing what you come up with!

  5. Great post!! Reminds me of when I went to Frace 100 years ago...my mom ordered rabbit and got a plate full of grey food, covered in grey gravy...we were all afraid to eat it...but I tried some and it is still the best food I've ever had.

  6. oh how I LOVE this post. I'm a feeding therapist who deals with clinical picky and selective eating. I do MUCH educating on this very thing. The way food looks and the way you present it can make or break success. Some kids don't want overly "cute" food because it can make them uneasy about what it actually is...some want their food not to touch...some need to have their favorites served in a different shape once in a while to realize that their "favorite" is still their favorite even when a different shape etc...Thank you for great content that I can share with my community.


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