As a child, were you ever told not to play with your food? We think it’s time to change the script! By encouraging our little ones to associate plant-based goodness with fun, creativity, and expression, we can help them fall in love with new tastes and textures. Our earliest food experiences certainly influence our later dietary choices, so the younger we can inspire healthy eating habits through play, the better!
Be tactile with food
Did you know that allowing children to be tactile with food can encourage them to branch out and try new ingredients? When introducing your kids to a rainbow of new ingredients, consider putting your cutlery aside and letting your fingers do the exploring.
For instance, create a platter of nutritious foods with interesting textures, such as mashed sweet potato, squishy blueberries, and fluffy cauliflower, and take turns to describe how each ingredient feels. Our 4-in-1 Flower Power Tic Tac Toe board is ideal for this!
Play food-themed games
Food is fun, and so are games! So, why not mix the two? The science suggests that doing so can help with diversifying your child’s palate, with children exposed to sensory-based food education more likely to be adventurous with their food choices. This type of education can take many forms, but we think playing foodie games is one of the best!
One of our favorites is Play With Your Food, which invites children to use small fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds to create faces. This encourages them to be artistic while paying close attention to the colors, textures, and shapes of the ingredients at hand.
Whip up something delicious
Cooking offers a chance to get creative and take a deep dive into a variety of plant-based ingredients. Plus, getting kids involved in meal preparation has been linked to increased veggie consumption!
Start by identifying foods that your little ones are particularly wary of, perhaps because of their texture or scent, and let them see how they change as they’re chopped, peeled, mashed, boiled, or fried. For instance, blitz eggplant into yummy baba ghanoush, or see how crunchy carrots can be softened and sweetened with a drizzle of maple syrup.
At the end, you’ll have a delicious meal to enjoy! With our multi-purpose cutting boards, you can even press pause on the meal preparation to play a quick game of something fun.
Go on a sensory adventure
Putting pressure on your little ones to try new ingredients may make it feel daunting and unappetizing. If they’re not ready to taste new foods just yet, why not remove the pressure completely and use your other senses? For instance, you could:
- Compare how ingredients look in real life to pictures or illustrations
- Find household objects with a similar color or texture to your chosen ingredient
- Cut fruits and veggies to see how they look inside
- Sniff a variety of ingredients – what can you smell?
If you’re not sure where to get started, our A-Z & Activity washable placemats promise all the inspiration you need!
Switch up your environment
Sometimes, simply switching up your environment can be enough to encourage your little ones to adopt new behaviors, such as trying new ingredients! Why not make trying new fruits and veggies a novel experience by holding an outdoor lunch or picnic in the park?
There are plenty of food-themed games to play in the great outdoors, such as searching for nature items with the same color or texture as the ingredients you’re enjoying. Or, you could play Tic Tac Toe with small pieces of food on our multi-purpose tablecloth!
At Be-Ve Kids, we believe wholeheartedly in the power of play for inspiring healthy eating habits and an all-around love of nourishing plant-based foods. Browse our range of consciously crafted products to get started.