Let’s make eating food fun!

By Drs Emma Haycraft and Gemma Witcomb


One of our Mum-friends on Twitter got in touch recently to let us know how much her little one was enjoying learning about where food comes from and how proud she was of the carrots that she’d pulled out of the ground.  This supports what the research tells us, which is that children love to learn about food and to be more involved with it; be that growing it, singing songs about it, or simply choosing and preparing it.


Fussy eating is often partly linked to children feeling wary about unfamiliar foods, or foods which look unusual, or even when served in a way that they are not used to.  Making food fun and increasing children’s engagement with food, in all of its forms, can really help children to overcome these food fears and reduce their fussy eating behaviour.  There are lots of ways in which we, as parents/caregivers, can help to make food fun.  For example:



  • Find pictures of fruit and vegetables that children can colour or cut out and stick.
  • Use Play-Doh to make fruit and vegetables.
  • Engage in role play games, such as “at the shops” or “at a cafe” to try new foods in a relaxed way.



  • Grow your own! You don’t need expensive equipment, or even a garden. Many foods can be grown indoors, for example in yoghurt pots or on a windowsill.



  • Involve children in food preparation so they get used to seeing and handling foods in various states – raw, peeled, grated, boiled, steamed or roasted.
  • Let children help decide on meals by giving them, say, two options to choose from (e.g., “would you like peas or carrots with this?”).



  • Make it fun! Try chopping fruit and vegetables into faces or shapes or use them to make juices or healthy lollies.  This will make the foods more appealing to children meaning that they are more likely to try them.


We’ve got more tips for making food fun, and alternative ways to get children more familiar with – and less wary of – foods on our Child Feeding Guide website.  Why not give some a try?  Pop over to the forum and let us know how you’ve got on, or to ask us any questions about feeding children.


Dr Emma Haycraft and Dr Gemma Witcomb


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