Meals are served!
You know that feeling you get when you are invited for dinner and your host serves the food using the most amazing plateware, a beautiful bowl and servers for the salad, soft napkins, shiny cutlery, and sparkling glassware? This can make you feel like a special guest. You already know that the food is going to be delicious before you even taste it! Well, kids also respond to that kind of visual stimulation.
You could make a beautiful display of colourful fruits and vegetables described here (hyperlink to ‘Involve children in food preparation’) and serve them in small colourful or clear glass bowls. Hummus to be served as a dip and salad dressing to pour onto the salad can also be beautifully presented for the kids to independently dish their food. This is a great way to introduce two to three new foods to the family, with all family members trying a spoonful/teaspoonful amount of each food, depending on age.
It goes without saying that all these suggestions work well if the whole family sits down together for a meal. Keep in mind though that as a parent, family meals are not a good time to share your feelings about how you cannot stand fish, cabbage, anchovies, or cucumber. This is the time to be excited about all the food that is on the table. When children can see everyone enjoying the same food and conversation around the ‘yumminess’ of the food is flowing, it will encourage them to try even those foods they would have been otherwise sceptical to try – especially if they were eating on their own. It is also important to use a positive tone of voice when encouraging children to try a particular food. Attempt to serve certain unpopular foods often and to prepare it in different creative ways before it is added to the ‘liked’ list by your children. Do not give up!