Today I am grateful to Jennifer Tyler Lee, mom inventor of the award-winning kids card game ‘Crunch a Color‘, which uses a point system and food reward chart to encourage kids to eat a rainbow of foods. My twins just turned five years old and I’ve struggled with their picky eating habits since they were both toddlers trying out new foods.
Crunch a Color’s healthy eating game takes advantage of my kids’ innate sense of ‘twin competitiveness’ – reward charts and games where one of them ‘wins’ really do work in motivating their behavior. Each week, the child with the most points for eating a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, along with proteins and grains, wins a prize such as a special trip or desert treat. They even get points for ‘table manners’ such as helping to set and clean up the table and bonus points for trying new foods.
Since playing the Crunch a Color game their eating volume has improved tremendously, and I am relieved that we don’t need to cheer on each bite now since the reward cards and point system provide enough motivation. It’s been a several-year struggle getting my kids to eat more than a few bite-fulls of food per sitting. My son is a super-picky eater and sticks to the staples like pizza, chicken, steak, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, peas and carrots — without much interest in trying new things. However, since introducing the ‘double point card’ for ‘Try a New Food’ — he has been asking for what new food he can try with each meal. My daughter has a more adventurous palate and is always up for trying a new food, but isn’t a huge fan of fruit or vegetables, preferring cheese and grains over greens. Now that she has color cards to help guide her through the rainbow of fruits and vegetables, she’s been finishing her plate each meal and also asking for more!