When was the last time your kids got excited about a meal, unless they were asked if they wanted fries with that? Fun family eating doesn’t have to happen outside the home. You can serve it up quick and easy, and so can the kids!
Ask yourself when was the last time you had fun with food. Was it the one-year birthday cake when you smooshed it into your face, and your parents saved that photo to show off at your wedding? Or was it the hot dog eating contest that was going really well until you discovered the dog had eaten the rest of the hot dogs and left them on the kitchen floor? Both those were fun family events, although maybe not for the dog. What made it fun? Not the food itself, but what you did with it.
One of the best ways to get kids to eat, and to enjoy foods, is to teach them how to make it. Toddlers of three and four years old love to help Mom in the kitchen, and if coached, can be very adept at putting sprinkles on cookies, or making faces on them with raisins. Raw vegetables can be peeled and cut up by older children who can choose a dip to serve with them. You’ll be surprised how much actually gets eaten during the preparation, when the same child won’t sit down and eat them at the table. Not only is it a way to get the work done and the food into reluctant eaters, it’s a great time to talk to kids when you’re both relaxed and have a focus other than homework or chores.
All it takes to put some giggles in your goulash is a little thought and a willingness to “go with the flow”. Making dinner a fun family food frolic is limited only by the imagination of whoever is doing the making. This week, it’s Mom and Dad. Next week, let the kids do their darndest to gross you out.
Start with some of your family’s favorite foods, and then look for inventive ways to serve them. Who doesn’t like cake? Who doesn’t like the family cat? Who wants a second helping of kitty litter cake? Yummmmm. The kids will fight over the chocolate… “decorations”, we guarantee it. This recipe is also fabulous for kids’ parties, and formal dinners with the in-laws. We’ve included the recipe below in case they’re coming for the weekend.
When it’s the kids’ turn to make a special dinner, the only rules are that the food has to be edible. Yes, peanut butter, mayonnaise and pickle sandwiches have a certain appeal, but not when they’re deep fried in batter and served with Tabasco sauce. Older children and teens are perfectly capable of coming up with ideas that will put some pizazz on the table with the antacids. The younger ones may need a little help, in which case, Mom and Dad or an older child can help them whip up a gourmet delight. Do an Internet search for specific foods with terms like “fun food”, “fun family food”, or “gross”. We’re sure the kids themselves will improve on what you find.
If you really want to see some Family Fun with moments to remember, go to http://www.familyfuncartoons.com which is the top resource on all the things families do together!
Having family fun never goes out of style.
By: Jon Mumford