As mother to a fussy toddler and baby, I am forever coming up with creative strategies to get my boys to eat healthily.
Recently, we’ve had a lot of fun reinventing some favourite children’s games to encourage healthy snacking.
1. Healthy eating board game
Players roll dice and move along the spaces, eating the various food item that corresponds to the food space they land on. The extent to which a player is required to eat the food to stay in the game depends on their preference for that food For instance, if they have a clear dislike for a food, perhaps licking the food is sufficient. The winner gets a special prize such as choosing the next activity. Best suits 2 and half years and above.
What you need: Paper, coloured paper/felt pens, markers, dice, healthy snacks
2. Spinner game
Players spin the arrow and eat the food that the arrow points to.
What you need: Paper, coloured paper/felt pens, split pin (for arrow), healthy snacks
3. Treasure hunt
Put foods into colourful packages and hide around the backyard. Once ‘treasures’ have been found, have a picnic. This game is especially helpful to encourage children to try new foods or foods they would typically avoid.
What you need: Colourful boxes, healthy snacks
4. Playing shops
Play shops ‘buying’ and then eating produce. Best suited to 2 + years.
What you need: Paper, coloured paper/felt pens, coins, healthy snacks
Other games that could be reinvented to encourage healthy eating include:
5. Follow the Leader- all players eat the same healthy food as the leader
6. Simon Says- whereby all directions given relate to eating healthy foods
7. Snap- where the cards are of healthy food options (e.g. fruit, vegetables, dairy, wholemeal foods etc). Every time a pair is ‘snapped’, the players eat the corresponding food item.
8. Memory- where the cards are of healthy food options (e.g. fruit, vegetables, dairy, wholemeal foods etc). Every time a player reveals a matching pair, the players eat the corresponding food item.