Monday, May 5, 2008

Making Healthy Meals Kid Friendly

Anna showing off her creations!

Have you ever had problems getting your kids to eat or maybe you would like to jazz up a boring meal? If you’re a parent, I’m sure you had the situation where your kids either said that they weren’t hungry or didn’t seem interested in what you had planned. For the parents and non-parents alike, I’m sure that you have gone to fix something to eat and not been excited about what your options were or felt that you were making the same boring things over and over again. Since presentation is everything, as some people say, why not add a little fun and pizzazz to your meal?

I was surprised to see how excited my girls were about eating dinner yesterday. One of the biggest reasons that they were excited about it was because they were making it! My wife had taken out some cookie cutter shapes that we have and let the girls apply them to their meal. Our kids are at an age where they love all those arts and crafts and there are many days that I think that would do nothing all day but cut stuff out and glue it! They often enjoy helping to make dinner. I must admit that this is one of the most excited that I have seen them about one of their projects.

A close up of the plates

You can do this with a lot of things, so feel free to improvise. Based on an idea in Koch's noch mal, Mama! the girls applied the cookie cutter to bread, cheese, assorted lunch meats, and cucumbers. For the basics you make this healthy by using low fat cheeses and lunch meats, healthy breads, low fat/salt prezels (or other healthy snacks) for garnish and further appearance. You can also use your cookie cutter to jazz up your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and give all sorts of fun shapes to carrots, apples, and so on. While the kids will probably like the shapes, they really enjoy that they do it themselves. It also helps if you get excited about their creations. My daughters really enjoyed that I took pictures of their creations. While you might not necessarily want to take pictures, you could do that especially since with digital cameras, you’re in control of what you print.

One word of caution, like many things in life, if you use this took often it will lose its excitement and your kids might just find it boring. You can probably use this idea for a few meals and then store the idea in the back of your mind (or somewhere else) and use it again later, so that it becomes new again. I pasted a link to the book at above, but the book that we have is in German. Cornelia Trischberger is the author listed on our book. The book being offered at is lists as Doreen Paal, I'm assuming that this author translated the German book. Here is the book we have at Cornelia Trischberger has also written a book called
Jetzt koch' ich, Mama!,
which has listed under the author Sybille Engels, so I believe both books have been translated by different people. One of my searches revealed Cornelia Trishcberger and Doreen Paal in a couple of entries together. In the event that you do happen to order either book and end up with the German version by mistake, I'd happy to get whatever receipes you'd like translated into English.

By using a cookie cutter, your family’s imagination, and involving them in creating the meal, you can really make your meal experience much more rewarding for everyone. Do you have any tips that you use to make your meal fun? If you have any other comments, I’d love to hear them. If you liked this article, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS or email, share it on or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it. Thank you. :)

On Deck…

I’ll be publishing posts about…

  • The next in my series of weight loss strategies
  • My next Spotlight on the web.
  • More on productivity, web 2.0, social networking, family, parenting, health, photography and other things that you can use.

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Weight loss strategies from the “Lose Weight with The Power of One: A Motivational Journey to Nutritional Sanity”:

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