Making Food Fun~Frugally!

by Jenn @ Frugal Upstate on August 1, 2011

As you all know, I’m an MVP Generation Go Ambassador-and I’ve been talking each week about ideas to keep your family healthy and active!  So far we’ve discussed Meal Planning, Kids and Youth Sports,  active role models and discovering your community.  This week’s MVP Generation Go topic was to talk about fabulous fun recipes for kids!

Of course the intent of the MVP Generation Go program is to encourage families to live a healthy, active lifestyle.  Part of a healthy lifestyle is eating healthy and nutritious food-which can be a challenge if you’ve got a picky eater on your hands!

Never fear-there are ways to get even the pickiest kid to eat things that are good for them–and without spending a fortune!  Here are 4 great ideas to help make food more fun (and therefore more likely to get eaten).  As an added bonus-they don’t cost a thing!

1. Change the name.

Would a rose smell as sweet if it were named “Skunk Cabbage?”.  I don’t know. . .but I do know that Buddy wouldn’t touch pea soup with a ten foot pole until I renamed it “Shrek Swamp Slime Stew”!

And let’s face it-”Peanut Butter Stuffed Celery with Raisins”  just doesn’t sound anywhere near as interesting as “Ants on a Log”.

Photo by Mitchell Bartlett

So get creative and try your hand at renaming a few things on your dinner menu!

2.  Make it look cool

Yes, names can make a difference but looks can help even more!  Kids are visual creatures–most kids believe that if it looks cool, it must taste good.  Use that to your advantage!  With a little creativity you can take everyday foods and make them look interesting.  (note:  I’m not saying hotdogs are health food)

Photo by Angela

spear uncooked spaghetti through hot dogs before boiling! Photo by Jeremy Felt

Even something as small as cutting a sandwich into a different shape can make it more appealing to picky little eaters:

Photo by me :)

3.  Make it small

Kids are fascinated by little things.  You can take advantage of this little quirk by making “Muffin Tin” lunches for them.

Photo by Connie Krebs

Photo by Lisa Clark

Try cutting up vegetables and keeping them in the fridge, then at snack time you can fill one muffin tin hole with dip and the rest with a variety of vegetables.  I bet they all get eaten!

4.  Sneak it in

There are tons of great recipes out there spurred by the book “Deceptively Delicious” on how to sneak veggies into food your kids normally eat.   Things like Butternut Macaroni and Cheese  and Black Bean Brownies.  You can also just jazz up the nutritional content of your favorite recipes with a few substitutions or additions.  Try adding 1/2 cup or so of pureed carrots or butternut squash to your regular spaghetti recipe, or making Jello Jigglers for a snack with juice instead of water.

There you have it, 4 great ways to make food fun for kids!

Now, here’s your chance to share more ideas AND be entered in to win a $50 Visa Giftcard courtesy of Kids Fun Plaza! :)

This giveaway starts today, August 1st and ends at midnight EST on Sunday August 7th.  Winners will be announced next Monday.

To enter, we would like to know what your favorite fun snack is for your kids!

For an additional entry you can:

Tweet your ideas about how to get out and get active using the #GenerationGo hashtag (one entry).

Don’t forget to head on over to the MVP Generation Go Facebook page andgive them a “like”! You’ll see all the great posts by the other Ambassadors-and to see their gift card giveaways as well!

*****This is a sponsored post*****

DISCLOSURE: I am an MVP Generation Go ambassador.  MVP Has provided me with compensation for this post.  My participation is voluntary and my opinion is always my own.  The $50 Gift Card for this giveaway was provided by Kids Fun Plaza.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Karina House August 1, 2011 at 9:51 am

For car trips, I like to make a snack mix with a variety of things in it – dried fruit, small whole wheat crackers, healthy nuts, and a few treats like mini chocolate chips. It’s amazing how few of the sweet things I have to put there and still get excitement from the kids! Also, my newest find: cut straws short and stick it in the top of an applesauce cup for instead healthy applesauce drinks!

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Alysa@ImpulseSave August 1, 2011 at 9:52 am

First off I have to say spearing hot dogs with uncooked spaghetti is GENIUS and I absolutely adore the octopus hot-dogs. All of these suggestions prove that doing a little extra with a pinch of creativity goes a long way. I always loved when my mom would do different things with familiar food, like freezing grapes or frying green tomatoes from our garden.
Thanks for posting!

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Mami2jcn August 1, 2011 at 9:52 am

We like baby carrots with ranch dip!

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Mami2jcn August 1, 2011 at 9:53 am

tweet-http://twitter.com/mami2jcn/status/98028450266361856

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Jessie C. August 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm

My favorite fun snack for kids is fruit smoothies and yogurt, kids get to pick what they want to add into them.

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Jessie C. August 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm
Heather August 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I’m not very creative since (so far!) my kids aren’t picky. I love the muffin tin idea and will probably use that more and more as my little ones get a bit older. Snack trays just make the best lunches in the summer anyway…easy on mom, fairly quick if you do all the prep work once/week, no heating up the kitchen, quick to eat in between playing outside and headed towards naps and lots of variety with fruits, veggies, cheese, and whatever strikes the fancy that day!

Heather

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Jennifer August 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Green Candy! It’s just a bag of frozen peas to adults, but call it green candy and they will eat it up and ask for more. Leave it frozen and snack on it. The great thing is this is a “candy” that you will have no problem saying yes to seconds, thirds, and fourths!

You can also have Yellow Candy with froxen corn as well.

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sandra August 2, 2011 at 7:21 am

yogurt!

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Lanie August 2, 2011 at 8:03 am

We like watermelon and cantaloupes from our garden. We also like frozen grapes and fruit smoothies.

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Suzanne with Laughing Wallet August 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

It also helps when you can involve the kids in the cooking (even if “cooking” just means “assembling”). Somehow a dish gets tastier when a kid can take some pride in being one the cooks!

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ladybug's mom August 3, 2011 at 10:40 am

Put it on a stick! Everything’s more interesting when served on a skewer! Thread grapes on a bamboo skewer and freeze before serving (cut off the pointy end first!!), make fruit kebabs on drinking straws, lunch meat and veggie kebabs, try cheese cubes speared with pretzel sticks or strawberries on pretzel sticks with a little bit of fruit dip (vanilla yogurt or sour cream with brown sugar) mmmm!!

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AnneJisca August 4, 2011 at 9:48 pm

My 3yr old is in a phase of wanting grilled cheese all the time. Not only do I use whole grain bread (100% spelt or wheat) but I add shredded carrots along with the cheddar cheese! He doesn’t see it but gets extra vegetable! Sometimes I add a thin layer of chicken salad, thin enough he doesn’t notice it. hehe Once it’s cooked, I cut it in triangle shapes and he looooves that!

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Mari August 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm

My favorite fun snack to make for kids is home made Popsicles. We use freshly squeezed juice, that way we can be sure there are no additives (like food coloring or preservatives) or HFCS in the Popsicles.

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