According to a few of my friends, food is just food. You buy it or grow it, prepare it, eat it, then move on with your life. Even though I most certainly don’t think this way, I can kind of understand why they do. It comes back to that “do we live to eat or eat to live?” question. To me, I really think it’s both. Food *is* absolutely just food when you look at it in a black and white kind of way. Yes, we need to eat to survive and so that’s what we do. But to ignore the whole other side of food and eating, is to miss out, or so I believe!
The “other side of food” for me relates to happiness, love, celebration, custom, sharing, learning, teaching, giving, and also, very importantly, having fun! Many occasions; birthdays, anniversaries, religious holidays and so on, have certain foods intrinsically linked to them and lots of our memories right from when we were very young up until more recently are linked to food, and the good times we’ve had devouring it.
At the end of the day, the one thing everybody agrees on is that all humans must eat. Another thing that an absolute majority would also agree on is that we should aim to eat as healthily as possible, most of the time. To me, all of this just seems like common sense, but to some people, especially to kids, it isn’t as obvious. When talking to children about “common sense on the subject of food” nothing should be taken for granted.
I’m sure there are many youngsters who would struggle to understand why hot chips, cupcakes and fizzy drinks don’t make up a ‘complete diet’. “But Mum, that’s variety?!” Heck, I think I’ve even used that one….. and I AM the Mum!
So, in order to help kids eat healthily and have a varied diet, I think the best thing to do is to tap into the ‘fun’ component I mentioned above. I know there are loads of ways to address “fussy eaters”, however, I’ve found making food fun to be the most successful, especially when it comes to kids that are a little bit older. They’re more cluey and more interested to know all the details about what they’re eating, where it came from, who made it, etc so little white lies, disguising things and bribery won’t necessarily work! And lots of parents don’t agree with those methods anyway! Whereas if it’s fun, everyone wants to be a part of it!
Here are my top tips to help ‘make food fun’, especially when it comes to eating/cooking with kids:
1. “COOLER” WHEN IT’S FROZEN: Food is more fun when it’s frozen. Who doesn’t agree with this!? “Hello Miss 7, Would you like a yogurt or a FROZEN yogurt!?”, “Some custard or some ICE CREAM, Master 9?!” I think I know what I want! Icy treats have a lot more appeal than things at room temperature or ‘worse’ hot. And it doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming to create these treats. Plain or flavoured milk frozen on a popsicle stick and yogurt blitzed with fruit and ice cubes are just two easy examples of how you can achieve healthy, nutritious and fun snacks in just minutes.