Children today have more negative influences in the form of unhealthy processed food and health drinks loaded with sugar and harmful additives. But there's a lot you can do to help your kids adopt healthy eating habits without turning the dinner table into a battle zone. The key is in helping them understand and respect food-in a fun way. In the last chapter of this three-part series on making food fun, I give you suggestions on how to help kids make healthy food choices.
It doesn't take an artist to make dosas, parathas or eggs in funky shapes that your kid can identify before eating. While it's easier with dosas and parathas, eggs can be cooked on a hot non-stick skillet inside cookie cutter moulds to get star or crescent moon shapes, etc. You could also play games with your kid on which other objects he can think of when he sees those shapes. Not only does this become a great session on shapes and objects, but also a fun way to eat healthy homemade food.
Toss up a salad
Wash and dry a mix of salad greens. Get your child to use her blunt paper-cutting scissor to cut up the leaves for the salad. Keep a bunch of ingredients like grapes, olives, cheese, apple slices, nuts, etc. in different bowls and ask your child to man the salad counter (a low table), by mixing the ingredients of her choice to make her salad. Fill a nozzle bottle or empty ketchup squeezy bottle with a simple vinaigrette using honey, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice; and watch your child happily digging into the self-made salad. He will also feel proud to toss up a salad for her parents or siblings as the salad chef for the night!
For slightly older kids, you could engage in some scientific experiments that are bound to make them go 'wow'. For example: the baking soda & vinegar volcano. When you add vinegar to a container that has baking soda, it forms carbonic acid that instantly breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide, which creates dramatic fizz as it escapes the container. For younger kids, you could start with experiments like simple sprouts or stale bread getting mouldy. What this teaches kids is that food isn't just about taste and that they have to think and then choose what food they put into their bodies. It is the first step to introducing the idea of how different foods combine and react with each other to have different effects.