A new study conducted by Cornell University found that most children respond to color and variety in food presentation. Even more interesting, the study found that what kids find visually appealing can be very different from what their parent like.
Children also respond very positively to food presented in the shape of a design. Most kids find foods like Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes, cereal with a “face” made from a banana and strawberries, or peas arranged in the shape of a heart, as “fun.” This study found that you can get picky eaters to eat almost anything if it is made colorful and fun.
Now, having kids of our own, I find it surprising that you can get them to eat almost anything, but the study results are interesting. Many picky eaters react to the look of the food, not the taste. Have you ever heard your child say “I don’t like that,” when they haven’t even tasted it? What are they reacting to – certainly not the taste. It may be the smell, the color, or the way it’s presented.
And, make eating fun. I can still remember eating at the homes of my friends when I was growing up. Some meals were fun and others weren’t. When it was fun, I usually ate whatever they served. When the family took mealtime more seriously, it wasn’t as much fun and I was more picky about what I ate. Make sure you treat eating as something to look forward to and to have fun with.
The Cornell study found that children liked plates with more elements and more colors. They like plates with 7 different items and 6 different colors the best. Compare that with adults, who favored plates with only 3 items and 3 colors the best.
As parents, we need to be role models too. It’s hard to get your kids to drink milk with dinner when you’re drinking soda, wine or some other drink. It’s also difficult to “make” your kids eat their vegetables when you don’t eat yours. So, model the behavior you want your kids to exhibit.
So, make “fun” the main dish at your next family meal! Serve foods with lots of color and arrange the food into fun shapes if you can. Then, laugh at the colors and shapes you’ve created – have fun and you may find that your picky eater isn’t so picky after all.
Do You Wish Your Kid’s Ate Better? Check out our FREE eBook at www.HealthFamilyFuture.com. Many of the strategies in this book can be used by both children and adults.
Remember, the choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
You may also want to read: You Have More Influence Than You Think, Picky Eaters: What You May Not Know, 5 Tips for Getting Any Kid to Eat Healthy