Creative ways to present unfamiliar foods

Dren of DrenNotes offers her take on the creative presentation of food:

I've been reading a lot of buzz on the interweb about Deceptively Delicious, mostly dealing with the ethics of "sneaking" in fruits and veggies into a child's diet. My child is a picky eater (and yes, I know where he gets is from). But this past month I've had some success in the three-year-old getting more variety into his meals without any deception.

Situation 1: Safeway was having one of their never-ending "buy one, get one free" deals on packs of 18 eggs, meaning we have a lot of eggs around the house. I had some I needed to use up and decided to make Egg Muffins for my lunch. When my toddler heard what I was making, he was insistent about eating one. Why? Because it was a *muffin*. I thought he'd turn his nose up once he saw it was made out of eggs instead of flour, but he actually ate two whole muffins and has asked for them multiple times during the week. It was all about the packaging (ah, a marketing junkie at such an early age).

Situation 2: I'm part of a meal swap group (eight families make 8 batches of an 8-serving meal that can be frozen, and we exchange them once a month – so great!), and after watching Feasting on Asphalt in which Alton Brown talked about a southern meal of fried chicken and waffles, I thought it might be a good freezer meal: a waffle topped with honey-butter, applesauce, and oven-fried chicken. When I gave it to the other families, they acted a bit hesitant – it's a fairly unusual combination for northerners (my folks are southern). I thought my son would have the same quizzical reaction, but he chowed it down! Why? Because it was all of his favorite foods! Waffle – good! Honey-butter – good! Applesauce – good! Chicken – good! My friends said their toddlers loved it as well – even asked for seconds which never happens. Where the packaging seemed odd to others, it made perfect sense to them.

Related: 'Gateway' foods entice finicky eaters

Comments

  1. Sarah says

    I have found that giving new foods creative names really does help too. For instance, yellow zuccinni squash became “sunshine smiles”. Any stew with carrots in it is “just like the Tawny Scrawny Lion ate” (for those of you familiar with this book). At the very least, they will try foods I do this with, even if they don’t end up liking them. **Works best with young children. The older they get, the more they roll their eyes at your creative names.

  2. jj says

    Dren must not live in LA. Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles resteraunt is an absolute LA institution. If you served families here fried chicken and waffles, no one would bat an eyelash… though your chicken better be really good, or it will suffer by comparison.

  3. Michael - Family Hack says

    I love the meal swap idea…and “Feasting on Asphalt” is one of our favorite shows. Hannah and I are foodies and we have talked numorous times about doing a similar road trip. Recently we wound down through Virginia in to North Carolina for some BBQ and authentic street tacos. Mmmmm…good.

    Michael
    http://www.familyhack.com

  4. Jessica says

    Instead of hiding the extra veggies in different things, what I do is make scenes on their plates. My son like Thomas the train and my daughter likes Dora so we have corn as a corn field, broccoli as the forest, mash potatoes or a roll for the mountain and the meat is cut into train pieces. It works like a charm.

  5. Jessica says

    Instead of hiding the extra veggies in different things, what I do is make scenes on their plates. My son like Thomas the train and my daughter likes Dora so we have corn as a corn field, broccoli as the forest, mash potatoes or a roll for the mountain and the meat is cut into train pieces. It works like a charm.

  6. none says

    My 2 yr old son is into dinosaurs and consequently roaring like a dinosaur. We told him that broccoli are dinosaur trees and that is what dinosaurs eat. That worked a few times. The last time we had broccoli he was reluctant to try it. I reminded him that they were dino trees and dinosaurs ate them. He looked at me and roared but still did not touch the broccoli. I told him that was a very wimpy roar and that dinos eat their trees so that they can roar. I picked one up and ate it and let out a loud roar. He bought it. He ate all his broccoli. Roaring louder after each one (until his father had enough of the roaring).

  7. Writebrite says

    I know it’s an old one, but shredded veggies mixed into burgers works every time. I put two whole zucchinis in a batch of hamburgers and everyone devours them (even my ex who doesn’t eat any veggies).

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