Do you remember the game called Bop It? I had completely forgotten all about it until I saw the interactive game being played in an old Gilmore Girls episode. Toy companies have made a few versions, but I remember playing the original Bop It. The first Bop It had three instructions; players could either “Bop It, Twist It, or Pull It.” It might have been my teacher-self that always tries to make lessons out of everything, or maybe because I had just finished coercing my two- year-old to eat some green beans that my mommy brain made an odd connection while watching the old re-run. Maybe this idea could be applied to the way food can be prepared for kids who are picky eaters. What if your perspective changed and you treat dinner time like a game? The instructions are to “Blend It, Change It, or Hide It.”
Most of the time, kids enjoy a frozen blended treat. So, pull out your blender and get creative with the fruits and veggies you may have in your kitchen. I have made a kale smoothie with peanut butter and banana for my children that went over well. Although the green bits were noted, both ate the whole thing and one even complimented the chef. Next, try and change the way you fix your food. Many kids have texture issues with food, so change the way you cook the detested veggies. Try switching up the preparation method to either sauté, bake, fry, or grill. Play with the amount of spices. You could even change the way you present the food. Research has proven that kids are more likely to eat finger foods and food on sticks. Lastly, hide it! Your little one may run when they see something green on their plate or gag at the idea of eating something healthy, so mix in those things when you can. I am not a fan of mushrooms. Something about the sliminess gets to me. Then, my in-laws introduced me to Gouda and mushroom burgers, which are delicious! I realized it wasn’t the flavor I hated, just the look and feel of mushrooms. Hiding them among other yummy things that I like made them manageable to eat.
I know many of you are thinking I would love to bop my complaining child’s head because I practically have to twist their arm to get them to eat, and occasionally have to pull them to the table when they see broccoli is on the menu. No more bopping, twisting, and pulling, the new kitchen rules are “Blend It, Change It, and Hide It!”