Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Enjoying Food With All Your Senses

"Don't play with your food!" Have you ever heard or said these words? I used to hear these words a lot when I was little. My mom always reminded me not to play with my food... My grandmother lived with us when I was growing up, and she was very strict and believed that children should be seen, not heard and other things along those lines. So I think one of the reasons my mom was so strict was my grandmother's influence.

Interestingly, I also said these words quite frequently to the teenager when he was little. It's so easy to say and do the same things your parents did and said, even though you said you never would...

With the toddler, I am a lot more relaxed, and I truly have learned to pick my battles.

The other day, we had kimbap ("Korean sushi": rice, vegetables, & seafood rolled into seaweed) for lunch.

The toddler started by taking a piece and eating it.

But then he looked at a piece and did this,

and this,

and this,

until he finally ended up with this! It was beautiful.

He proceeded to pick up the individual ingredients, and he ate them. He also smelled some of the ingredients before eating them. I realized that the toddler was truly enjoying his food with all his senses, and I was glad that I didn't tell him to stop playing with his food. He ate until he was full, having a great time.

Watching the toddler play with his food before eating it, was a great reminder that food is supposed to be fun and pleasurable. I believe that if we focus on the beauty, smell, and taste of our food, it is much easier to be satisfied with less food and to truly enjoy what we eat.

I think "interactive" meals are a great way to "play" with your food a bit. For example, I like to make tacos that everyone assembles. Or breakfast burritos that everyone fills and rolls up. We haven't had an interactive dinner or breakfast in a while; I think it's about time for all of us to play a bit with our food... :o)

Questions: Were you allowed to play with your food as a child? When was the last time that you played with your food? If you have children, do you let them play with their food?

Be well,
Andrea

26 comments:

  1. Wow, what a nice post. It's amazing to watch how children experience things in the world. Sometimes, I wish I could go back to that! I chuckled when you said he smelled each piece of food before he ate it. So adorable.

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  2. I'm surprised your toddler eats sushi! I don't know many kids that would.
    I was definitely not allowed to play with my food growing up. Even now, I definitely don't touch it more than I have to. I like the idea of using all your senses, though!

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  3. Oh what a fantastic post! Isn't it funny how we are learning that some of the once proper ways to discipline children when it comes to food, are no longer considered good recommendations? Another example is the "finish everything on your plate!" phrase. Now we know that may not be the best idea.

    When I have kids I will keep this post in mind, as I know I would have the urge to tell my child to stop playing with their sushi, and just eat it. I am a neat freak and sometimes that gets the best of me. But look how much fun he is having! And, he still ate the food, so what harm is that?? That's just great.

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  4. we absolutely were NOT allowed to be messy! EVER.

    I PLAY with EVERYTHING...it's why I love kitchen time!

    and I let my JJ be messy! YES YES YES they learn so much! it's just a towel and some soap for pete's sake!

    LOVE you pics of sweet lil man there!

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  5. Great post! I like how he lined it up like a snake. Oh, and that he ate all those healthy ingredients.
    Me? I always play with my food...
    LL

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  6. Such a wonderful post! I love the deconstruction of the sushi! Excellent!

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  7. I love this post! I don't remember playing with food but food was definitely something to be enjoyed at our house. Still is.

    Your toddler could teach us all a lot about eating. I'm paying way closer attention all of a sudden to the texture of the pear I'm eating and the chewiness of the dates I get in every second bite or so.

    I love that age so much. They are so purely themselves. They have no notion of being anything but.

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  8. wow what a cool post! that is so awesome that he did that. what a clever little guy. and already eating sushi! awesome!

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  9. yay...i have always been a proponent of playing with food. it enhances your pleasure and is fun, and food is supposed to be fun after all :)

    love all the pictures of playing with his food - too cute!

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  10. I was absolutely NOT allowed to play with my food growing up. My son will often eat with his fingers which makes me crazy sometimes, but I don't normally say anything. I figure he's eating, at least, but my Mom always hassles him about it.

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  11. That's cute. If I remember correctly growing up I never really did play with my food. Except to pick out something I didn't like in a certain dish. Once in a while now-a-days...I have the urge to play with my food. lol. I guess it's that inner child in me wanting to come out.

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  12. I'm so impressed that your little boy eats sushi! I would have never touched it when I was that young. I remember pushing my veggies around on my plate when I didn't want to eat them and getting scolded by my mom. I don't have kids, but as long as their not throwing the food at me, I think I'll let them play with it :)

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  13. Mmm, I love kimbap! It's really time consuming to make, but I like to have my own :) Hehe, the toddler is pretty darn creative!

    I don't think I really ever played with food, and I don't remember if I was allowed to or not. I was probably allowed to play with it if I don't remember!

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  14. I don't remember for sure, but I'm pretty certain that I wasn't allowed to play with food. Maybe that's why I enjoy cooking so much now!

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  15. The toddler made a work of art!!

    I don't think I was told not to play with my food- I think I play with it more as an adult though!

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  16. Oh those are adorable pictures! The last time I played with food was making homemade dough - playing with the dough is the best part of the process :)

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  17. Angie, I agree 100% with your comment on my blog. The study may not have allowed for enough time, eventually people might change! Thanks for commenting :)

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  18. I think I play with food more often when I'm an adult, specially in McDonals, play with fries with ketchup! not because it's fun, but to kill time.

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  19. that is so cute- I was never allowed to play with my food, but nowadays I often seperate things out and enjoy different flavours/textures seperately...

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  20. I play with my food while I prepare it and cook it. My kids loved to play with their food when they were toddlers.

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  21. My sister always played with her food and now she is really into food and a great cook. Some kids I think are very curious about food and letting them play within reason can help them develop healthy relationships with food, and maybe even help them to become a good chef!

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  22. I just love the sweet pics!! He's way too cute!! :)

    We were definitely NOT allowed to play with our food, probably would have ended up grounded... *roll eyes here* I'm pretty laid back so if my kids want to play with their food, I could care less, I just hope it ends ip in their stomach at some point & time!! lol!!

    You always have such great thoughtful posts!!!

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  23. You are such a fabulous mama Andrea - I loved this. Food should definitely be experienced by all our senses, especially little ones who are just finding their way in this world! Way to encourage a healthy relationship with food. Love it.

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  24. I love that you captured his little masterpiece on camera - how sweet!

    I don't know if I really played with my food when I was younger, but I don't remember my parents saying not to do it very often, either.

    I definitely food should be enjoyed in every sense - he got it right :)

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  25. Aww... the photos of the toddler are very cute. My childhood is a blur to me, but I don't think I was allowed to play with my food. Of course, as a kid, I don't think I ever got to eat sushi.

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  26. Actually, what the toddler created is pretty cool looking. I think you should just call it "nouveau sushi.'' People would pay bucks for that. ;)

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