8 GIFT GUIDE FOR THE 8 NIGHTS OF HANUKKAH FOR YOUR PICKY EATER

BY PAIGE MANDEL, MS RD

While holiday celebrations may be a bit different this year, it is more important than ever to create new and exciting traditions with your children, from making their first latke to opening presents each night. If you are a parent, caretaker, family member or friend of a selective eater, what an awesome opportunity to use the 8 nights of Hanukkah to help guide their transformation journey to becoming an adventurous eater.

Whether you feel like you’ve exhausted all your resources to encourage your child to try new foods, or could use an extra tool or two, or eight, we’ve compiled a Gift Guide to support you and your child, through interaction, enjoyment and education!

  1. Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and NutritionLizzy Rockwell’s children’s book Good Enough to Eat, is a hands-on educational tool to introduce the benefits of nutrition and healthy eating to your kids. Knowledge is power-  from carrots to cookies, this book dives into the nutrient groups and function, which foods contain which nutrients, kid-friendly recipes and much more, to help your kids understand how food serves as fuel, to grow big and strong through the foods they eat.

2. Eat your Greens, Yellows, and Purples Children’s Cookbook This cookbook contains 25 delicious and simple recipes, making fruits and vegetables approachable while also teaching kids the fun facts of healthy eating. Gather your ingredients and get your kids in the kitchen creating yummy, healthy meals together. Teach your kids how carrots help their vision while baking carrot and orange muffins or why peppers boost their immune system while making a red pepper hummus.

3. Food Scientist PlacematA colorful and descriptive, sticky adhesive placemat with “The 5 Senses Test” will encourage your children to use their 5 senses to explore both known and new foods. Put your imaginary lab coat and goggles on, as your child becomes their own food scientist, identifying what colors, shapes and sizes they see on their plate, what their food feels like, what they hear when they take a bite, what they smell, what they taste, and answer the big question “do I like it?”. Trying new foods and flavors becomes a fun science experiment, while also saving the mess! This Food Scientist Placemat is available on Amazon, in a 40-pack set of individually folded mats, and makes a great gift solution for your young picky eaters!

4. Copy-Kids: Eat Fruits & Vegetables – This video series, produced for children aged 6 months to 5 years, is a great tool to help influence your child to enjoy eating fruits and vegetables! Just turn it on, provide your kiddo with a sample of the featured fruit or vegetable in the selected episode, and watch the power of compelling imitation entertainment. Available on Amazon Prime Video or DVD, Copy-Kids presents 12 7-minute episodes featuring adorable children aged 9 months to 4 years, eating with giggles and fun: bell pepper, bananas, oranges, carrots, strawberries, avocado, raspberries, tomatoes, apples, broccoli, blueberries. Amazon Prime Series Season 2 features: kiwi, pineapple, peas, peaches, green beans, grapes, corn, celery, cauliflower, cabbage, blackberries, watermelon and an additional episode from leading Speech & Language Pathologist and Pediatric Feeding Therapist Dawn Winkelmann.  This is a simple yet revolutionary tool for parents who want their kids to develop a life-long habit of healthy eating. 

5. Food/Cookie Cutter Shapes – Use cut out molds to create your child’s favorite animal or movie/cartoon character, making trying new foods more fun! From your Power Ranger loving eater to your princess obsessed eater, they’ll turn any food- sandwiches, bread, pancakes, cheese and even lunch meat, into Mighty Morphins, Disney Princesses, and even Zoo Animals. Choose your child’s favorite shapes/characters/animals/designs, and watch their food come to life, to bring joy to the table and the meal-time experience more exciting.

6. White Board Menu – If you feel you are always asking yourself, what should I make the kids for dinner, or feeling like you’re scrambling at meal times to get creative, this is for you (and your kids)! Help your children get involved in the meal prep with a plan. Use a dry erase menu planner to plan ahead with your kiddos, providing routine and structure to their meals. Whether its Mac and Cheese Monday, Taco Tuesday, or Sharing Saturday, use this tool to create a plan for you and your kids to reduce the meal-time decision making worries. This can reduce the anxiety of the unknown for your kids, knowing what will be served. The added layer of choice in making the menu can lower your child’s guard and increase their eagerness surrounding food. You can start with a more simple weekly menu linked here, or get more detailed into daily breakfast, lunch and snacks, linked here.

7. Fun Plates and Utensils – Find your way in to meal-time excitement for your kiddos with new plates and utensils for them to look forward to! Trying a divided plate can help your children and picky eaters eat with ease. The Construction Divided Plate and Fairy Garden Divided Plate  both come with a matching utensil set designed to work together to combine eating and play as well as to help develop independence and fine motor skills. Bento Animal Food Picks, Funky Spoons and Forks as well as Kids Monkey Training Chopsticks all can spark interest to make eating enjoyable and entertaining. Spicing up your serving utensils can do wonders on your child’s interest in food.

8. Grow your own Garden – Inspire your kids to grow their own food with their very own garden! Combine the fun of crafting with the science of gardening while your kids see their garden grow from a seed to a fruit, vegetable, herb or plant, stimulating curiosity for your picky eaters. This can provide a sense of responsibility for your children as well as get them excited to try the food they just “made”. Plant a Pizza Garden, Vegetable Planting and Growing Kit for Kids, and Nature’s Blossom Heirloom Vegetables Seed Starter Kit all contain everything you need to get started!

Free Downloadable Resources for your Picky Eater:

MyMunchBug Food Explorers Map and Matching Cards – This tool has been created by Pediatric Feeding Expert and Author, Melanie Potock. Melanie provides incredible Master Classes and Courses to help guide your picky eater as well as a free toolbox.  Check out her site and download the Food Adventure Map and Matching Cards to entice your children to try new foods, by using imaginative play to decrease the surrounding anxiety. You can use this free download of the Food Adventure Map and matching cards in a variety of ways to encourage children to interact with new foods.

In addition to this gift guide, consider a Children’s Multivitamin and an Omega 3 Supplement to support the growth and nutrition of your picky eater.



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