Now that summer life and activities have begun, breakfast, lunch whether packed or at home, snacks, and dinner are more leisurely and that picky eater’s idiosyncrasies stand out and glare at us, the parent nutritionists, even more. So, what can we do in the summer to alleviate the “battles” of picky eater versus what we want our children to eat?
Summertime provides extra time to really play together and even though we don’t want our children to play with their food, a few food games can help bring a picky eater with only three or four food item choices to a child who eats up to twelve different items that nourish and delight him/her. So, how can this feat be accomplished?
One game that I have found successful and fun involves the “Do What I Do and Add a Word” game. Place twenty small bowls filled with various fresh fruits and vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces on top of a lazy-susan tray. Make sure each bowl has only one sort of fruit or vegetable. Use red cherries, Rainer cherries, red grapes, green grapes, apricots, peaches, nectarines, watermelon, pineapple, mangoes, celery, carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, fennel, avocado, red peppers, orange peppers, yellow peppers, and broccoli.
Sitting around a round table, get the entire family to play. To play the game taste a bite from one of the bowls and describe it using a word that no one else has used. To determine the direction and order of the tasters and describers pick a card from a playing deck and the person with the lowest card goes first and decides if the game goes clockwise or counter-clockwise. Everyone must taste each food and state a word that describes it that no one else has used. So, for example, if I pick up a bit of avocado, and I say it is mushy, then no one else can use the word, “mushy.” A scribe needs to be selected and keeps track of each person’s food choice and word that describes it. The winner is the person who can pick five of the foods and reiterate what five of the game players used for describing words, after everyone has tasted each variety and described it. So the first part of the game is being courageous enough to taste each food, and thinking of a word to describe the food that no one else used. The second part which determines the winner is to remember who said what about five food choices and the descriptors that each of those five game players used. No one can advance to the second part unless everyone has tasted and described each of the twenty foods. That is the part of the game that helps get picky eaters to try new foods and begin to like different things.
Of course, after playing this game with fruit and veggies, you can play with other food groups. The winner needs to win a prize that seems really amazing to the picky eater. Enrolling the other members of the family into the conspiracy of getting the picky eater to try new things via this game certainly helps!
Let’s hear from you about ideas to get a picky eater become an adventurer with food!