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You're Never Too Old to Play With Your Food

Posted by Jessica Larson, MS, RD (Nutritionist, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion) in Food and Nutrition
Feb 21, 2017
MyPlate offers easy ideas for making healthy foods festive and fun.
MyPlate offers easy ideas for making healthy foods festive and fun.

Who doesn’t want to have a little fun with their food? Especially if you have a picky eater at home, try adding a creative flair to the plate to boost a healthy meal’s fun factor. Our team of nutritionists has been having fun using cookie cutters to come up with creative, healthy ideas, but there are lots of easy ways to make healthy choices more appealing.

Earlier this week we shared a blog about making a snowman from all 5 of the MyPlate food groups. Below are some additional ideas. Have fun!

  • Try using cookie cutters to make a two-toned sandwich, like the mitten sandwich above. This also helps teach kids about making at least half their grains whole grains.
  • Serve foods in seasonal colors. For Valentine’s Day, play up red fruits and vegetables, for St. Patrick’s Day- all green, for the 4th of July- red, white, and blue.
  • Create a “new” dish with your child and name it for him or her. Make a big deal of serving "Dawn's Spectacular Salad" or "Peter's ‘Pan-tastic’ Sweet Potatoes" for dinner.
  • Use seasonal placemats and napkins to make the meal more festive.
  • Create faces on the plate. For example, create a potato person by decorating half a baked potato with sliced cherry tomatoes, peas, and low-fat cheese to make a funny face.
  • Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes out of low-fat cheese and whole-grain bread. Pair with fruits and veggies for a MyPlate snack plate. (See image below)

And, importantly, be a healthy role model! Let kids see you enjoying healthy foods and they’ll be excited to try them, too.

Stay connected with MyPlate for healthy food inspiration year round:

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition

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Dolores Speer
Dec 19, 2014

Thank you for the great food idea

Carol Janesko
Dec 22, 2014

I was surprised to see a reference to potatoes (white) in making fun faces for plated foods for children. The WIC Program (USDA\FNS) had banned all white, red, purple, etc potatoes for the 3-4 years for WIC food vouchers but now they may be available soon!!