Sometimes it’s not so easy to get your kids to eat healthy food. In fact, if you have a picky eater it can be very hard! Here is a simple healthy eating activity for kids that they can actually eat, and because they are in control of exactly what goes on their plate, there is no encouraging, cajoling or bribing required. They’ll be having so much fun making edible art with their food that they might even forget that it’s healthy!
Fussy eating has been just about the no.1 difficulty I’ve faced as a parent. I know exactly what sorts of food my girls should be eating but buying those foods, preparing them in an appetising way and putting them in front of them doesn’t always mean they are going to eat them. In fact, with one of my kids I know there is a 99.9% chance they are going to be rejected no matter what I do.
I’ve waited patiently (or perhaps not so patiently) for her to outgrow her picky eating, but it’s not happening.
This is one thing that has been helpful because although she may not eat everything she puts on her plate, at least she is touching the foods and getting used to the smells and textures of them. It also means because she is choosing exactly what goes on her plate she is not feeling as pressured to try new things. Additionally, because she is in a creative mindset whilst putting an artwork together, she’s more relaxed and also more likely to need food of a particular colour or shape to add to her picture that she wouldn’t ordinarily touch.
You don’t need a fussy or picky eater to do this activity though. This healthy edible art is great for all types of eaters. If you have one of those mythical kids (about as rare as unicorns) who eat everything, they will love this too!
We’ve all seen pictures of those too-good-to-eat lunches made in the shape of cartoon characters and other fancy things, and while they look pretty amazing I suspect that my kids wouldn’t be fooled, they know that a plate of veggies dressed up as a cute little puppy is still a plate of veggies. It’s not going to convince them to eat it, but when they are the creators of their own masterpieces it’s a whole different story.
On the day I set this up for them they ate two healthy food artworks each, which is impressive for my two. Sometimes playing with food is a good thing!
Taking the time to put this together is worth it, I promise. It keeps your kids busy with a creative and open-ended art activity which they can eat so you’re killing two birds with one stone. If you have older kids, they can also help with the chopping and preparation work.
How to make healthy edible art
You will Need
• Assorted chopped fruit and veggies – obviously this will depend on what’s in season where you live and what you have on hand in the kitchen
• Crackers – we used wholegrain rice crackers and jatz crackers
• Nuts and dried fruit – we used pistachios, almonds and sultanas
• Cheese – we used mini babybel cheese wheels and some apricot and almond cream cheese
• White plates to use as a blank canvas – ours are paper plates
• A small chopping board and knife to cut the fruit and veggie shapes smaller if need be (if you are comfortable with your kids using knives, obviously this needs to be supervised)
A general tip is to use lots of their favourite healthy foods to make up your platter but also include some things that are a bit more adventurous for them. For Miss R the carrot and cucumber sticks are adventurous and for both of them the Apricot and Almond cheese was a new thing entirely (neither actually tried it but I like to think that they’re one step closer for next time)
Arrange your healthy goodies on a platter in the centre of the table and allow the kids to do their thing – no rules necessary. My kids needed no direction in what to create, they both really enjoyed making art with food (and I loved it too!).
Miss K created the funny face (the mouth is made of squashed cheese).
Miss R made the strawberry toadstools and also the raincloud with pistachio nut raindrops.
I made the fruit and veggie mandala and rainbow because you should eat a rainbow every day.
This one is Rapunzel by Miss K. She was very tasty!
Next time your stuck in a rut of the same old same old when it comes to kids’ snacks why not allow them to play with their food? Maybe they’ll discover a new favourite.
You might also like
• Healthy eating printable activities for preschoolers
• Create earth art outside using nature
• Make your own construction set using items collected from nature
• Salted nut-caramel popcorn cups (the healthy version)
• Set up a tadpole to frog observation tank
You can also find lots of healthy food ideas for kids on our for the lunch box board on Pinterest.