4 Easy Ways To Get Creative At Mealtimes

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As I walked past the most amazingly colourful fruit and veggie stall today, it got me thinking about just how much we eat with our eyes. The way everything was laid out made me want to eat it all!

How food is presented can make all the difference between us wanting to eat it or not - or even to try it, if its something new. And more so for our kids. 

But don't worry, I'm no artist and am not for one minute talking about spending hours lavishly sculpting penguins out of pears (though seriously, how cute is this...?!)

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What I'm talking about is much simpler than this. I've been 'arranging' my kids' food since they were toddlers. Now, with my eldest (and fussiest) almost 10, he still tends to eat a better meal when different foods are kept separate on his plate, or presented in some kind of pattern.

Here are 4 simple yet effective creative suggestions:

1.      Make faces on the plate. Lettuce, broccoli or rice is great 'hair'. Halved cherry tomato or baby potato 'eyes' and sausage 'mouth' - it couldn't be easier!

2.      Present foods in different ways. For example, grated carrots instead of sticks, sliced tomatoes instead of wedges. Or try offering fruit with and without the skin, for example, kiwi fruit wedges eaten out of the skin or peeled kiwi cut into pieces. You might be surprised at what they will try when it looks a bit different. 

3.      Mix up your serving bowls. Experiment with serving plates or bowls in the middle of the table so your children can help themselves. I know it's way more messy, but they will appreciate the opportunity to be independent. Alternatively try using mini dishes for small servings of foods 'on the side', for example, ramekins, egg cups or little plastic food pots. This can be a really helpful strategy for getting fussy eaters used to seeing new or refused foods without actually having them on their plate.

4.     Use fun tableware. I'm a sucker for colourful cups, plates or placemats! Even though my kids are now well out of toddlerhood I still can't resist picking up new items on my travels. I'll always use it when they have friends over as it can help the children feel more relaxed, which in turn increases the chances of a 'successful' meal.  Check out Flying Tiger and HEMA if you're looking to update your kids' tableware collection, they have some very funky plates, bowls and place mats.

How do you get creative at mealtimes? I would love to see any food photos or hear your other ideas! Please email them to me at: nutrition@juliawolman.co.uk

Julia Wolman