26 Products To Make Eating Fun. Great For Getting Picky Eaters To, Well, Eat.
Why is it that mealtimes are often one of the most stressful (and downright painful) parts of the day? Shouldn’t it be easy to get our children to eat something (anything!) nutritious?
If you have a child who is a picky eater, you’ll agree, the struggle is real.
We feel your pain. Getting a picky eater (or even a good eater) to eat their food, or heaven forbid, try a new food, can be an uphill battle where the victor is never you. But what’s a mom to do, just serve frozen waffles and mac ‘n’ cheese for the rest of your days? Surely there’s something we can do that doesn’t involve losing our cool and yelling “just. eat. it!”
Well studies have shown that the less pressure a child feels when eating, the more likely they are to lower their guard and try new foods. And one way to do just this, is to get rid of the stress and control battles at mealtimes, and simply make it fun.
We’ve selected 26 of the best gadgets, tools and gizmos that will make any meal exciting (yep, even the ones with the green stuff). We’ve tried them with our own picky eaters and were blown away with the results (editor’s note: no joke, brussel sprouts and asparagus were consumed in our household!). At the very least, you’ll swap the scrunched up nose and pouty face for a big grin that is hopefully willing to open up wide and say “Mmmm”.
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When mealtimes are moving at a snail’s pace, sometimes all it takes to jump start some actual food-to-mouth action is to pull out one of these magical food eating devices. Who wouldn’t want to poke their food with cute puppies or try stabbing peas with chopsticks?!
by Fun Eating Devices
Cool how is the Sporkstix?! It combines a spork with a pair of chopsticks, all in one fun superhero utensil. Kids can practice their fine motor skills with the chopstick side, but when the going gets tough, they can flip it over and use it as a spoon or fork. Super fun!
Fred & Friends Utensils
We love anything from Fred & Friends, and these fun utensils are just what your picky eaters need to get food to mouth. They will love to play “airplane” with the Airfork One, gobble up their dinner like a T-Rex with the Dinnersaurs spoon and fork set, and eat their oatmeal by “sticking out their tongue” using the Lickety Spoon. All sheer genius.
by Hog Wild
OK, so this Twirling Spaghetti Fork may seem like a bit much, but you should have seen the sheer joy our tester’s had with it. They had a ball watching their pasta spin around and around (editor’s note: with MEAT sauce! A relative miracle for my children), and it resulted in a clean plate in record time. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it with this one!
by Chop Sabers
Got a Star Wars fanatic on your hands that treats green beans like the dark side? These light-up (yes, they really light up!) chopsticks will bring about a new force in your young Jedi where the green stuff actually gets consumed. Lightsaber chopsticks we love.
It’s funny how cutting food into a fun shape can exponentially increase your child’s odds of eating it. An avocado and chicken sandwich for lunch? Ewww. An avocado and chicken sandwich for lunch cut into the shape of a train? Seconds, please!
This Minion sandwich cutter from Funbites takes “playing with your food” to a new level. Pop out the “goggles” from the sandwich and your kids will have a blast trying them on, and then gobbling them up. (note – this works best with firmer sandwiches. Think Turkey and Cheese, not PB&J)
by Kai Chuboos
Have a hard time getting your child to eat their veggies? Yea, don’t we all. Well you’ve got to try these adorable veggie cutters which turn boring carrots, cucumbers and celery into fun elephants, penguins, and dolphins. Or try turning cheese and ham into dogs, cats or pigs. Kids just can’t resist!
by Fred & Friends
Got a puzzle or Tetris lover? Turn their sandwich into a game they’ll play with and eat.
Watch your child’s face light up when you serve their food on one of these fun and engaging plates.
Construction/Garden Plate & Utensil Set
by Constructive Eating
We love the unique Construction and Garden plate and utensil sets from Constructive Eating, and they were one of the biggest hits with our picky eater testers. They kept the kids completely enthralled with their meal, as they worked hard to push the food up the plate’s ramps using the fun bulldozer or hoe utensil. Meal time was a blast, and hardly a pea was left on the plate.
by Fred & Friends
Oh mamas, if there’s only one thing on this list you try, have it be the Dinner Winner plate from Fred & Friends. There is nothing more genius than turning mealtime into a board game, where your child has to eat the food in each of the eight portion “spaces” before getting to the finish line, when they can uncover their “prize”. Our tester’s loved eating in the small portions (they agreed it felt less overwhelming then a large plate of food), and the incentive for the “treat” (whatever you deem that to be), resulted in a fast and painless mealtime. The Dinner Winner plate comes in 4 different designs to suit your child’s interests from super heroes to princesses. The name says it all with this one – it is truly a winner.
We’re big fans of non-toxic stainless steel here at What Moms Love, so it’s no wonder we can’t resist the Din Din Smart Stainless Divided Platter from Innobaby. Your kids’ will love eating from each section of the school bus, particularly if they prefer their food not touch (picky eater parents, you get us, right?!)
These BPA-free silicone placemat/plates from ezpz make mealtime just that: easy peasey. The Happy Mat has 3 compartments integrated right into the mat, and the edges are high enough so you can even use them for cereal with milk. They suction right onto your counter or table top so they are spill-free and clean-up is super simple (you can even throw them in the dishwasher!). Kids love the novelty of the all-in-one design, the bright colors and the face smiling back at them.
Rescue your child’s mealtime funk with these fun sets from KidsFunwares – from construction and firetrucks to dinosaurs, unicorns and princesses, there’s bound to be a design that will connect with your child. Each one includes a 100% melamine plate and a coordinating fork and spoon. Sound the alarm, there’s food being consumed!
by Fred & Friends
If you struggle with getting your kids to stay sitting at mealtimes, these Food Face plates from Fred & Friends will become your secret weapon. They’ll be having so much fun eating and creating different faces from their food (think spaghetti hair and a saucy beard!) they won’t have a chance to think about their escape. Talk about making food fun!
Created by a mom with picky eaters, DylBug’s goal is to “make healthy food fun”, and they certainly achieve this with their clever Personalized Little Me plates. Create a plate with your child’s likeness, then use their fun clothing cutters so your child can dress themselves up with healthy watermelon dresses, or sandwich pants. When they ask “mom, can I have some more strawberries to make myself a hat”, you’ll know you have a winner.
A great way to sneak more fruits and veggies into our kids’ diets is to use them to make smoothies. And a sure-fire way to get them to consume said smoothie? Turn them into frozen pops. ‘Cause really, what kid doesn’t like popsicles?!
by Paderno World Cuisine
If you haven’t tried a Spiralizer yet, what are you waiting for?! This gadget should be a must-have for any parent. I mean it can turn zucchini into spaghetti, cucumbers into ribbons, and carrots into curly “fries”. Seriously magical. We’ve tested all the top-sellers, and this one from Paderno is our favorite. Your kids will love to help turn the handle too!
One of the best ways to get your kids to eat healthy is to involve them in the cooking process. The more invested they feel with the food, the more likely they are to try it.
by Little Partners
This Learning Tower is one of the best purchases you can make for your kids’ health. The adjustable height allows your child to safely stand with you at the kitchen counter, and therefore be a part of preparing their food. If you have the space for it, you will use it every day, and your child will adore being right by your side. And once they’re done with mealtime, push it over to the sink and they can help wash the dishes. Whoopie!
Kids seem to have a natural tendency to want to help in the kitchen when sharp objects are involved, but not to worry, next time your child asks “can I help cut that?”, your answer can be “sure!” with the StarPack Nylon Kitchen Knife Set. These awesome knives can safely cut foods like fruit, veggies and cheese, but won’t cut skin.
What’s your secret to getting your picky eater to try new foods? Leave us a comment with your tips below.