The following is a guest post by Charlotte Seeger. She blogs at Baby Bite  and is a Danish nutritionist that specializes in children’s nutrition. 

As parents, we are the ones responsible for giving our kids a natural and healthy relationship to food. It is our job to give them good food and meal values. This is where playing with your kids’ food comes in.

We have always been told that playing with food is a ”no go”. It’s messy and it’s not polite. This is true, if your kids throw the food around the table as if it was a softball, yet  not many kids do this!

It’s time to welcome a new definition of playing with your food, because this can actually change your kids’ relationship to food and meals in general. On top of that, it’s a perfect tool against fussy eating!

Babies, toddlers and older kids alike should indeed play with their food.
Why do you ask? Because it’s all about the importance of the sensory stimulation that food gives your kids when they are eating. The more you make the meal a wonderful sensory experience, the more interested your kids will become in eating the food on the plate. It’s important to play with different food formations and the different (and beautiful) colors that fruit and veggies have. This is what will kick-start your kids’ sensory curiosity. All of a sudden the olive will taste ”okay” because it’s the nose of the bear instead of just an olive. Or maybe the celery will taste wonderful because it’s the sword of a knight. Food will become interesting and fun! You will give your kids a meal experience that is completely different from other meals. Your kids will take this with them as something wonderful.

It’s also a fantastic way of spending time with your children. It gives you a presence with them, creating a positive memory for your child where food also serves an important role.

Playing with your food is so much more than just ”playing with food”. It is about food, presence, family time, and kids exploring their senses. It’s time to let your imagination loose and let the food and meal be a respite. A time when you can have fun together, socialize, and taste all sorts of wonderful commodities.