food play ideas for picky eaters this fall

November 7, 2021

Helping your picky eater during holiday meals can feel tricky, that’s why I love to encourage food play. The leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter and another year is nearly gone. While it feels like these weeks are going to go by in the blink of an eye, I want to encourage you to find a few ways you can include food play in your family time this season. Below are 12 food play ideas for picky eaters this fall, if you try any of them be sure to tag me!

Green Beans

Green Beans are so common on the holiday table, and year round really! They would make a great food to practice with since getting kids liking them would impact your dinners year round. Some ideas for creative play with green beans include:

  • Practice cutting and trimming the green beans
  • Use green beans to make a silly mustache
  • Build a log cabin with green beans and toothpicks


Cranberries are so fun and colorful. They’re also a unique fruit and difficult to find at other times of the year, so I love to double down on activities with them during the fall.

  • Set up a bowl of water and have your kids guess if they sink or float. Cut some and see if that makes a difference
  • Watch videos on how they grow and are harvested
  • Make cranberry sauce on the stovetop and watch how the berries burst and turn into a jelly.


Many of the families I work with struggle with mashed potatoes, maybe yours does too. Mashed potatoes are a very different texture than typical foods we eat, and many families feel like mashed potatoes are a decadent dish and thus only serve at holiday meals. Which means… Kids don’t see them often enough to feel comfortable! Here are some ways you can help your kids have fun with potatoes this holiday.

  • Stamping! Cut the potato in half, then use a cookie cutter to cut out a stamp and let your kid decorate painting paper or brown paper bags.
  • Let them cut and mash when the potatoes are soft!
  • Use some of your leftover eyes from Halloween, fun frosting pens or tooth picks to make silly faces with the potatoes.


How often do you make a whole turkey? What about a whole roast chicken?? A couple times a month for your kids to practice and know what it looks or tastes like? Yeah, me neither! It’s just not in the routine. Which means we have to be intentional about exposure.

  • Make a smaller turkey or maybe just breast or tenderloin
  • Color pictures of cooked turkey and Thanksgiving plates in the weeks leading up to the holiday
  • As you’re shopping at the store point out the turkeys or any holiday table images

If you’re looking for more guidance on helping your kids THRIVE this holiday season and beyond through food play and good nutrition, download Blissful Meals Holiday Guide today!

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