Tuesday Tips: Simple Food Tricks

cinnamon on pears

This week we thought we would offer some fun tips for getting kids to eat… because every once in a while it’s good to have a trick up your sleeve to outsmart the kids at mealtime.

Esther says…

  • Sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on apple slices. My kids eat apples, but they LOVE them with cinnamon. And if I add some raisins to the mix, it’s like they’re eating apple pie! Cinnamon also works on porridge, pears, sweet potato, frothed milk (babyccino!), and even on toast.
  • My dad used to play this game with me when I was a child, and now my children play it with us: When eating soft-boiled eggs, teach your kids the practical joke of turning the empty egg shell upside down after they’ve eaten it to trick someone into believing it’s a new ready-to-eat egg. I swear, my kids eat the egg quickly just so they get to do the trick! (Oh, and don’t forget to act surprised!)
  • Make faces, or stories out of the food. Just be creative — broccoli or green beans for hair, a sausage for a nose, tomatoes for the mouth (and mozzarella for the teeth!), mashed potatoes for the bow-tie, etc. So fun! (‘Oh no! You’re eating his eyes! Now he can’t see anything!’)
  • A few years back I got a stash of vintage fondue plates from the ’70s, and my children love it if I use those for their dinner. A little dish in each section (a bit of left-over pasta, some slices of banana sprinkled with cinnamon, a hard-boiled egg, some raw veggies — anything that you can find in your fridge!) — I think it’s their favourite dinner — they eat everything so well. And it’s really easy and fast to prepare ; ).

frozen peas

Courtney says…

  • Offer your kids a bowl of frozen peas for a little snack — my kids prefer to eat them frozen rather than cooked. Marlow eats frozen peas like it’s candy!
  • Pretend your toddler is a dinosaur eating trees (broccoli) or a mouse eating cheese or a bear eating fish, etc. Somehow pretending they’re an animal gets them to eat the food on their plate with added gusto.
  • Make frozen fruit lollies — insert a popsicle stick or toothpick into sliced fruit (watermelon, kiwi, peach, pineapple, strawberries, a banana, etc.) and stick it in the freezer. Easiest ice lolly you’ve ever made.


Emilie says…

  • Make DIY dinners (meals that kids can make themselves) like fajitas, stuffed pitas, summer rolls, pizzas or any kind of flat breads or crackers. They seem a lot more inclined to try and test new things if they can assemble it themselves. You can also just serve finger food items and let the kids have fun dipping: guacamole is a great way of eating avocado, houmous a great introduction to chickpeas, etc. I have even made beetroot dips, yogurt dips, broccoli and parmesan dips — basically dips out of everything in my fridge. The fun of being able to dip, rip and roll makes eating a lot of fun.
  • Let your kids help in the kitchen. You are more likely to eat something you have personally slaved over and are super proud of. Be it being the person who has pushed the button on the blender or having mixed the salad dressing or cut the vegetable etc. It also takes away a lot of “prejudices” — if you have made your own pesto (which all kids love) you are less likely to protest about eating basil, pine nuts or garlic…

Please share your food tricks — we can never have enough of them!


Comments (8)

February 10, 2015

For me, the table is a celebration of tasty foods and conviviality.
I would like to believe that sharing the table together with our children, enjoying delicious, wholesome foods and traditions (like the egg shell) along with ceremonial setting (not formal, but set completely with real dishes/utensils) highlight the fundamental needs we all have to eat and to be together, leaving out much need for tricks.

February 10, 2015

Love the frozen peas idea! My Issy is already on them, she loves it! Thanks for the tips! xx

February 10, 2015

We snack on a lot of frozen peas in our house too! Another meal that my kiddos like is chili. We turn it into a scavenger hunt: Can you find a kidney bean? What about a mushroom? A green pepper? How about two? Before they know it, the bowl is gone 🙂

I agree that asking children to help with with meal prep goes a long way in instilling pride in contributing to the family meal, not to mention teaching them life skills and healthy eating habits. Washing mushrooms with a little mushroom brush, slicing strawberries with a slicer (like this one: or even just asking them to set the table goes a long way!

Great topic!

February 10, 2015

Ooh love the frozen peas idea, shall give that a whirl and see if they go for it.
I am aiming for what Danielle said above, ‘formal’ dining centered around love of food and conversation about our day, reconnecting as a family and sharing important time together in our busy schedules.
The boys def eat better when they’ve been involved in the prep and I find it’s having an immediate effect on Toddler’s independence in the kitchen (now preparing own snack etc…) which is lovely.
Thank you for the tips x

February 11, 2015

I agreed. Finger food are always a hit. My son loves to dip his food; basically anything with a sauce.

February 11, 2015

My son loves to watch food being prepared and often he won’t eat something if he didn’t see it being made. This is a new and kind of frustrating quirk of his. At home, it’s not a big deal to bring him to the kitchen or involve him in the cooking. But when we go out to a restaurant, I’ve found that holding him and carrying him over to the kitchen (or as close as we’re allowed) so that he can see a pizza being flipped or a sushi roll being made, helps a lot. He loves to watch–it’s like the cooking channel live!. I will also show him the dishes coming out of the restaurant kitchen and point excitedly at what other people have ordered and then we guess how our food will look (will it be on a big plate? will it be in a bowl? will it come with vegetables on top or on the bottom?). I also want him to see the enthusiasm and pleasure on the other diners’ faces when their food arrives. I think the reason he feels anxious about restaurant food is that he doesn’t like the surprise of not knowing what to expect so I try to make it seem like the surprise is part of the fun!

Esther in Amsterdam
February 12, 2015

That is so sweet — I actually love that little game you’re playing — will try that too next time we’re going to a restaurant!

Leah prins
February 11, 2015

Ha, I thought we were the only crazy family that eat frozen peas as a snack – I loved it as a child & now my children do too 🙂 Thanks Emilie for the healthy dip ideas…I’ll be trying them out soon!

Leave a Comment