When I was a youngster, I lived on macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and my mom's homemade cookies. I refused to try anything new. I vividly remember ordering French toast on a family vacation, only to have an absolute meltdown when it arrived topped with powdered sugar. What is this stuff?! If you have a picky eater of your own — or a child that has more important things to do than eat a meal — you could use a list of kids' dishes to get them excited about dinner time. If your culinary prowess doesn't entice them, maybe these dishes will, right?
There are a variety of reasons your child might be refusing dinner. Maybe they snacked too much or drank too much milk or juice beforehand. Maybe they're coming down with something. Maybe they're exhausted. Maybe they're distracted. While all of those factors should be taken into consideration, getting fun dishes and utensils is a great (and easy!) way to make mealtime seem more enjoyable. Get a collection going, and they can handpick what they want to eat with — being involved in the process can also be beneficial for children.
And when you start losing patience with your picky eaters, know that there is hope. I'm proud to report that I will now eat virtually anything anyone puts in front of me. Well... proud and a bit ashamed. Your child may turn into a fellow bottomless pit, and these dishes may just be step one.
1. Construction Plate & Utensils
This is the perfect set for your construction-loving little one. The plate is created to look like a construction zone, while the utensils are a bulldozer, a forklift, and a front loader. There's a "Garden" version as well. Just keep in mind that the plate and utensils are sold separately, but the really good news is that the plate is microwave safe, and everything is dishwasher safe.
2. Fred DINNER WINNER Kids' Dinner Tray
Is it overboard to call this product genius? This DINNER WINNER tray turns meal time into a board game, in which children have to eat portions of food to reach the finish line. It comes in several different themes — from superheroes to under the sea — and it's totally food safe and dishwasher safe. Game on!
3. Airfork One
You've probably turned half your existing spoons into airplanes at some point, so why not take it up a notch? Not only does this fork make meal time more fun for your little pilot, but the shape makes it easier for little hands to hold and maneuver.
4. KidsFunwares Me Time Meal Set
These meal sets from KidsFunwares make meal time much more fun. The dividers on the plates are perfect for picky eaters ("Ewww, don't let my food touch!") and the matching utensils are easy-to-hold. There are a bunch of different "themes" — unicorns, mermaids, police cars, airplanes, robots, and so on — so your kid can choose something new each meal.
5. Sandwich Crust Cutter Bites & Pieces, Tetris Puzzle
OK, not technically a plate or utensil, but how amazing is this sandwich cutter? My mom used to cut my sandwiches into hearts and stars, but TBH I think a Tetris puzzle is way better. Let them play with their food before devouring.
6. Fred MR. FOOD FACE Kids' Ceramic Dinner Plate
Do you remember that little game we had back in the day where you could use a magnetic stylus to drag metal shavings onto a man's face? I spent most airplane flights creating beards and crazy hair for that ugly man. Anyway, this plate totally reminds me of that, so I'm a huge fan. Your child can use their imagination to create hair, freckles, noses, and mouths out of their food — but make it a rule that they have to eat it at the end or the plate goes into hibernation!
7. Curious Chef 30-Piece Chef Caddy Collection
This product is definitely more of an investment (both in terms of money and time), but has the potential to change your child's relationship with meal time altogether. This set comes with 30 fully-functional kitchen utensils and tools, meaning your child can be your little sous chef! By feeling involved in their own culinary creations, they'll (hopefully) be more eager to eat them.