If you’re dealing with a picky eater, who just won’t try anything new, it could be because your child and food aren’t on the best of terms!
When it comes to raising kids who have a happy and healthy relationship with food, it’s really important to foster a truly positive association with food and eating.
Instead of feeling anxious about coming to the table, kids need to love and appreciate food (even if they choose not to eat it) and look forward to eating opportunities, regardless what is being served.
One of my very favourite strategies for strengthening a picky eater’s relationship with food is to simply make anything to do with food or feeding as fun and enjoyable as possible. And having fun with their food is a great place to start.
But don’t you worry – “fun with food” doesn’t mean you have to be crazy creative or take hours to craft their food into a masterpiece. There are a TON of fun tools out there that just add a touch of fun and excitement to meals and snack-time.
When kids are interacting and having a good time with their food, their guard is down and they can’t help but feel positive about eating!
And those positive, warm and fuzzy feelings mean your picky eater will be much more likely to try that new food.
So with that in mind, if you’ve got a picky eater to buy for, or just want to get your little one feeling less negative about the idea of eating, I’m got a few fave products that you can add to your gift list.
Because what’s more fun and enjoyable for kids than receiving gifts??
What I really like about the idea of giving eating-related items as gifts is that this fun association with food is happening OUTSIDE of mealtime (when kids are much more receptive to conversations about their eating habits.)
Giving your child one of these fun tools as a gift is much more effective than just bringing one out mealtime, where it might come across like you are trying to convince them to eat something. Which is totally not the goal here.
So without further ado, here are my 5 Favourite Gifts for Picky Eaters:
Eating with a fork? Booooooring.
Eating with chopsticks? Now it’s a party.
When it comes to eating, sometimes changing up your child’s eating utensil can really ramp up the fun factor. Kids learn through play, so being able to interact with their food in different ways can help them feel more comfortable and relaxed.
So yes, chopsticks can be a recipe for frustration. Which is why I LOVE that there are so many kid-friendly chopsticks out there, like these ones from Fred and Friends or these and these. Not only are they cute, but they are super simple to use for even the newest chopstick-users.
Tyson loves eating with his monkey chopsticks and will very often try foods that he normally wouldn’t try when he has to work a little harder to pick them up! We bring them with us when we go out to a sushi restaurant and I often pack them in his lunchbox.
2. Food Cutters
Sometimes when food is visually appealing, it can really help strengthen that positive association I talked about.
Again, you’re not cutting their food into cute characters to try and convince them to eat it, the goal is to make them smile when they look at their plate or open their lunchbox.
3. Food Picks
Just like chopsticks, food picks are another fun tool that your picky eater can use to get food from their plate to their mouth.
These work wonders with kids who are still learning to use a fork properly (which can be a stressor), and they come in so many fun shapes and colours that your child will be excited to pick which one they use at each meal.
My favourite are the food picks from Pick-Ease. They are nice and sturdy and perfect for eating with (plus they are always coming out with fun new variations). Some food picks designed for bento boxes, such as these and these but although they are meant to be used for decoration, they are still really fun.
They make great stocking stuffers!
4. Fun Plates
Serving food on a fun and colourful plate is one of the easiest ways to add more excitement to a meal.
The fun can be in the design, like these construction plates or in the fact that they are divided into sections, like this one from Innobaby (which have the added bonus of decreasing anxiety for kids who don’t like their food to touch).
My very favourite plates are these and these interactive Food Face plates from Fred and Friends. We have the whole collection, and although I’m not very creative in my food designs, my kids love when I serve them a face for dinner. Plus, they have so much fun coming up with their own characters!