This is a guest post by Janeane Bernstein. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate storyteller who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

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Growing up, I remember more than one occasion being told not to play with my food. Of course, I think I was moving things around my plate to avoid eating them and then squishing them to diddle away the time at the table. Now that I am a Mom of two young girls, things are different in my household. I am all for playing with our food, because the end result is, we all have a laugh and the food really does get eaten.

My kids are much more into veggies than I ever was. My youngest daughter, 9, makes some of the most creative and adorable little cucumber, carrot, spinach creatures and cars I have ever seen. And then she gobbles them up. Letting her play and get her creative juices flowing allows her some time to have some fun at the dinner table and then devour her creations afterwards. I am usually heard saying, “That car/wagon/cow or whatever that thing is looks delicious!”

Veggie Wagon!

Another upside to letting your kids play with their food…math problems made easy! I am a visual learner and when trying to explain fractions to my daughter, it was clear what I had to do. I talked about pizza, cookies, etc. We used cucumber slices and divided them into pieces. Making math something she could see, and then eat, made all the difference in her comprehension. She also wasn’t so easy to give up and sit there with a dazed and confused look like I had at her age, when faced with a dreaded math problem.

So remember, let your kids create, play, and have fun with their food. Provide a colorful array of fruits and veggies and see what they come up with. The end result will be lots of laughter and creativity flowing, and less of a power struggle at meals. Meal time really can be fun and a time for all of you to unwind from the structure of our busy days.

Note from Be Food Smart: We love the idea of allowing children to play with their food! Along with a plate of colorful produce, provide tools for your children such as cookie cutters, kid-friendly knives, corers, and graters to increase creativity.


About the Author: Janeane Bernstein

Janeane Bernstein earned a doctorate in Media and Technology from Boston University and degrees from Syracuse University in Education and Communications. In 2000 she switched coasts and landed in Southern California to work in voice-over, radio and media and technology gigs. In between diaper changes and another baby girl, she went on to become a weekly contributor on a nationally syndicated Sirius-XM satellite show, host of a weekly radio show at KUCI 88.9fm at UC Irvine, Western Regional Coordinator of Mamapalooza, and producer and host of “The Momz Rock the House Show,” which can now be heard on OC Talk Radioand 90.1fm KBPK.
In the fall of 2011, Janeane launched a new show on Monday’s @9am PST on KUCI 88.9fm called “Get the Funk Out!” – featuring inspiring guests sharing stories of creativity and ways to shift your life into a more positive direction. When it comes to health and wellness, Janeane believes that anyone can learn how to make healthy food choices and find balance. She finds every opportunity to educate her own children on the importance of eating healthy, reading labels and understanding that what they put into their bodies now will impact them today and throughout their lives. Having shed her junk food past, Janeane lives by the following George Eliot quote:

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

For inquiries or to be a guest on Janeane’s shows, send e-mail to: janeane @ janeanebernstein.com


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