Creative Plating: My Secret Weapon for Getting Kids to Try New Foods
Whenever I have a new food I want my four small kids to try, I trot out a secret weapon — or two. There’s a drawer in my house full of little white bowls of all shapes and sizes: dipping bowls from an import store, egg cups from a big box store, little square appetizer plates bought on sale online. They’re all meant for adults to enjoy little bites of carefully made canapes at cocktail parties; I use them to serve new foods to small fries. Bonus: They’re also the perfect size for serving decadent desserts.
Anytime something is served in a dish like these, the kids think it’s fancy and exciting, so they’re way more willing to try it. And one more thing: All of my pieces are inexpensive, so if (and when) something breaks, it’s not the end of the world.
I’ve amassed a big collection, but even a couple of options would be just as fun. Here’s how we do it:
Juice Glasses: Of all my tiny pieces, our juice glasses probably get the most use. I use them for drinks every day, but occasionally they’re filled with parfaits. Everything from layers of chili and cheddar (pictured above) to yogurt and honey looks fancy when you can see those colorful layers.
Tasting Bowls: To get more carrots into my kids, we did a taste test for dipping sauce. And don’t forget homemade hummus, where we did the inverse: tasted all sorts of veggies and crackers dipped in one single sauce.
Egg Cups: These are my go-to dishes for serving new soups like this Spinach Starter Soup, meant to be gulped as a shot at the start of dinner. They’re also awesome for tiny scoops of ice cream.
Dipping Bowls: They work well for a kid-size entree like this Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Chicken with Quinoa or even baby food. The wide top is also perfect for a potato soup that’s all about loading on the toppings.
Charity Curley Mathews is a contributor to The Huffington Post and the founder of Foodlets.com: Mini Foodies in the Making ... Maybe. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, plus their four small kids, and dreams of someday getting the dishwasher unloaded before it’s time to start making dinner again.