McDonald’s and KFC and the like do a great job making their food enticing to kids. Bright wrappers, big logos, snappy slogans, take home “rewards” for eating their stuff. Honestly, what’s not for a kid to like? But we can take a page from these Goliaths on how to do a better job “marketing” the healthy meals we make at home as happy meals for the whole family.
- Make food appeal to kids' senses. Instead of serving boiled potatoes, roast some Garlic Parsnip Fries so the house smells delish. Instead of spaghetti with butter on a white plate, throw in some (green) spinach and serve it in a red bowl.
- Get them involved. McDonald’s has an entire Happy Meal website devoted to entertaining kids. We, too, can entertain kids with our Super Antics in the kitchen. Put them to work pinching herbs, or pounding garlic in a mortar and pestle, or even stirring water in a bowl with a wooden spoon. The point is, make them feel like they’re in on the action.
- Generate a sense of anticipation. Get a great kids’ cookbook and let the kiddos choose what they want to make once or twice a week, then generate a sense of anticipation for the meal as you make a shopping list, gather the ingredients, etc. If you have a garden or a farmers’ market, ramble around with the kids and make up names of dishes you could make with each food. The whole experience can engage their imagination . . . maybe even as much as a Happy Meal Superhero!
- Create a special occasion. There’s a sense with kids that having McDonald’s is a “special occasion.” We can do that too. Have the kiddos help set the table with nice napkins, dim the lights and light candles, present the plate as a waiter would, introducing each food with a description. Then sit down with them and your own dinner and share in the enjoyment.