With the explosion of crafting websites such as Pinterest and food blogs, more and more families are returning to the kitchen … and I love it! While it’s completely fine to indulge in some of the high-sugar concoctions that are quite tempting on these websites, be sure to not overlook the recipes that offer a healthy twist!
Food Art has traditionally been associated with the restaurant scene. Have you ever been served a meal that looked almost too pretty to eat? The combination of colors, textures and shapes of food can make all the difference if someone tries a menu item or not. Creating that “wow factor” at home is actually much easier than you think. This technique is incredibly useful in getting your picky eaters to try new foods such as fruits and veggies. While it may take just a little extra time to prepare a meal or snack, here are some of the potential benefits of offering fun and creative dishes!
- Getting kids in kitchen. Research consistently shows that the more involved your kids are in the kitchen, the more likely they are to follow healthier eating habits.
Some age appropriate kitchen activities can include:
- 2 year olds: washing fruits/vegetables, layering food, breaking sugar snap peas, handing items to adults
- 3 year olds: add ingredients, stir items together, name and count food, squeeze fruits
- 4 year olds: peel hard boiled eggs or some fruits, help measure simple ingredients
- 5 year olds: measure liquid ingredients, help cut soft food with a dull/plastic knife, choose new ingredients when grocery shopping
This also creates learning opportunities for the different food groups and what healthy benefits are associated with them. For example, eggs are a great source of protein, which helps us develop strong muscles as we are growing!
- Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. If you asked the 10 year old version of myself for examples of snacks, I would’ve responded with: gushers, Dunkaroos, nutty bars and Flintstones push-pops. Rarely would I have associated fruits and veggies with snack food. Having fun with your fruits and veggies at snack times can help kids learn early on that snack time is another opportunity to nourish our bodies with optimal nutrients. This also helps place an emphasis on fresh food and limits consumption of processed foods and products with added sugars.
- Small portions for small tummies! It can be easily forgotten that kids don’t need as large of portion sizes of food as adults do. A whole apple with 2 Tbsp of peanut butter may be too much food for a 2 year old; however, you can slice your apples thin to create butterfly wings and decorate them with peanut butter dots. This is a much more appropriate serving size choice for a toddler.
The wow factor! Being able to create a head-turning dish definitely gets my attention. If you’re like me, then you secretly receive a warm sense of satisfaction when your guests gobble up a dish you supplied at a party or gathering. Food art can help you turn the ordinary into extraordinary!