For kids, especially toddlers, eating is a sensory experience. Colors, shapes, sizes and presentation all go a long way with them.
This was evident to me when I attempted to give my toddler her fish oil capsules. She wanted nothing to do with them. I tried taking them with her or giving them to her with food, and she resisted all approaches. Then, I put them in a little clear cup and handed them to her on the floor. She gobbled them up and asked for more. Clearly, presentation is everything!
This same tactic works with foods. Making food fun helps little ones want to try it. Research shows repeated exposure to a food encourages kids to try it. This exposure includes both visual and tactile experiences.
As parents, we need to look at food differently too. The way it is cut and cooked can make all the difference in getting them to taste it. Here are some new ideas to transform food for your little one.
1) Make it “grate”.
Take your microplane or cheese grater to a potato, parsnip or carrot and saute them until soft or crispy. Carrots can be eaten raw this way too.
2) Roll the “dice”.
The smaller the pieces the more friendly they can be. A bite of broccoli in the mouth is a bite of broccoli on the taste buds.
3) “Carmel” makes everything taste better.
Roasting carmelizes the natural sugars in foods and makes them sweeter. Not sure how to roast veggies? Sprinkle with olive oil and bake at 375 turning frequently until brown.
4) Explore the “season”.
I use butter, salt, oils, or spices on veggies to add to their flavor profile. Does anyone really want to eat a dry, steamed vegetable?
5) When all else fails make pancakes.
My Paleo toddler loves all things round. We’ve had success with Paleo Zucchini cakes. You can use this round theme with baked sweet potato slices, or even raw jicama slices dipped in guacamole.