Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crunch a Color. The Healthy Eating Game

A few weeks ago my pal, Cortney, gave us this game as a gift and it's been the focal point of our kitchen table ever since. If you have anyone in your house that is under the age of 12, a remotely selective eater, and/or you'd love to see more good fruits and vegetables go into your kids, you need to check out Crunch a Color. Now.
The premise is simple: earn points by eating a rainbow of healthy foods. The execution is brilliant. You can earn more points for eating more nutrient rich fruits and vegetables as well as those that are generally less accessible for kids. Think 5 points for carrots, 10 for cauliflower, 15 for raddicchio. Kids can rack up bonus points for setting and clearing the table, making polite dinner conversation, and our personal favorite - double points for trying a new food.

Now, I don't have a deal with the Crunch a Color folks. Nobody asked me to try this product and I'm definitely not getting any kickbacks for a positive review here. But after years of feeding therapy for Roo, dealing with food allergies, oral delays, food aversion and picky eaters day in and day out I've tried all sorts of incentives, tricks, and games to encourage healthy eating. Crunch a Color is one of the best tools I've found. It works particularly well in a group setting (peer pressure, anyone?) and is just right for my 6 and 4-year-olds.

So far it's inspired the following:
  • An impeccably set dinner table most nights
  • 6 new fruits and vegetables sampled by all, eagerly, I might add.
  • A newly discovered love of arugula (Looly)
  • The wise assertion that jicama is a lot like if a raw potato and an apple had a baby (how true, right?)
  • Far less dissent when protein appears on a plate
  • 1 heated discussion about what constitutes a healthy grain
  • A better understanding of what constitutes a serving size for different bodies
  • 1 request for a third helping of Brussels Sprouts

I must be getting a little obsessive about it because at a party recently I was recounting the ways in which Crunch a Color has changed our family's dinner dynamic. Who wouldn't want to hang out with me at a party, right? Anyway, the guy I was talking to, father of 2 young kids, picked up his phone in the middle of the conversation and ordered the game on the spot. You should too. 

So, Looly has embraced leafy greens. Bean, who's always been a relatively good eater, but generally dislikes meat (except steak), is finishing a small serving of protein at most meals. Roo's eating focus has improved which means far fewer reminders to have another bite. And most fun for me, the troops are clamoring to try new stuff at every opportunity. Jicama, turnips, sweet potatoes, and rutabaga are no longer met with looks of disgust. Instead I'm hearing a whole lot of "How many points is that?"

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