It's all about presentation
Chances are, your grandmother can't understand today's
emphasis on making foods "fun." She grew up in a time
when food filled empty bellies. Kids simply ate or went to bed
In today's world-even though many families still are
struggling to provide adequate calories on the table-there's an
increasing emphasis on making foods fun.
"Family meals and food serve many purposes as we raise our
children. It's a social event, it can be fun, and it serves to fuel
growing children," says Kathleen Mansour, MD, a
pediatrician with Millennium Pediatrics in Naperville and a mother
of three daughters. "Those who tout making food fun are trying to
encourage children to eat healthy foods by making them engaging and
Brian Wansink, professor of marketing in Cornell's Dyson
School of Applied Economics and Management, has conducted studies
showing that kids will eat more vegetables if they're given cool
names. For example, giving carrots and broccoli names such as
"X-Ray Vision Carrots" or "Broccoli Bits"
can increase consumption. He also found colorful foods, with
the entrees placed in the front of the plate and with figurative
designs, were preferred.
While it's never too late to expand your child's food
horizon, children tend to crave starchy foods like bread, crackers,
pasta and corn if they haven't been exposed to enough fruits and
Mansour says her girls get excited when she makes meals
fun, such as putting their initials in pancake batter, making ants
on a log, or cutting sandwiches with cookie cutters. "It's not
required to get them to eat, but it puts smiles on their faces when
Christine M. Palumbo, RD, is a nutritionist living in Naperville.
See more of Christine's stories here.
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