Mealtime is tough with a picky-eating child. There’s pleading, negotiation, and flash visions of him munching on dino nuggets and applesauce at his future wedding reception because you’ve failed to get him to try new foods. Here’s a tool that just might end the struggle: A food maze tray.
How it works: Parents place different foods in the compartments of the maze, which comes in themes such as superhero, dinosaur and pirate, and then let the little diners eat their way from start to finish.
The healthiest, greenest foods could come first — if your kids declare they’re so full midway, well, at least they’ve gotten some nutrients. But they won’t stop! Why? Because at the end of the maze, there is a top-secret hidden prize. And they cannot lift the lid until they’ve finished the whole thing.
So suspenseful! What can it be? A chocolate-y dessert? Five raisins? A coupon for one kiss from Mum? Kids love a good quest and grand conclusion. Don’t we all?
A mother named Jen Anderson, of Kirkland, Washington, told The Kitchn that the tray has been a game-changer for her five-year-old son Levi, who has autism. Getting him to eat was nearly impossible as he couldn’t stay seated and focused for more than 10 seconds at a time.
But then, she said, the treat became “the motivator”. Now, she gets Levi to eat “things like broccoli, cheese, fruit, cut-up sandwich squares, and a slew of other things she never even thought would be possible”.
I can see the tray being a hit with my four-year-old daughter, who eats ridiculously slowly and doesn’t like her foods to touch each other. It might also remind my husband and I to diversify her meals.
The tray is called Dinner Winner, and is available at The Therapy Store.