These days, my stock response to most of what life has to throw at me is "I've got an app for that...". I came late to the world of smartphones and the novelty still hasn't worn off. I'm repeatedly amazed that I can find my way around, find out what the weather has in store and do my shopping - all with just a finger-swipe. So when I discovered that there were several apps on the market for picky eaters, I was interested to see what they had to offer. Here's what I found:
This app was developed by nine year old Nicolas Cone and is basically a resource for healthy eating information and recipes. I loved the idea that children could submit their own recipes so the app is truly organic and will encourage children into the kitchen AND inspire them to try growing their own food. There is a 'shopping list' facility so children can learn important life-skills. Like this a lot.
Anyone that has read my post on Pediasure shakes will know that I am not their biggest fan. Annoyingly, I don't have much to say about their app because I couldn't get past the registration screen. After taking a deep breath and deciding to sell my soul by giving them lots of details about myself (which I had to agree could be passed on to third parties for marketing purposes) I was quite relieved that it wouldn't accept my address - presumably because I didn't live in any of the Malaysian districts offered in their drop down menu. So maybe this app is for Malaysia only, or maybe I missed something. Either way, all I know about it is what the reviewers shared, which is not a lot beyond the fact that this is another way Abbott hard-sell their products to concerned parents. If anyone has successfully installed this and uses it - please get in touch!
Fun cooking apps
Dr Panda's Restaurant 2 and Toca Kitchen are both cooking games where children can pretend to prepare meals. Like Nicolas' garden, I can see these being useful for parents who want to generate a little enthusiasm for eating and food preparation. However, the old-fashioned part of me thinks "just get them into the kitchen for some real food fun!"
The virtual reward chart...
The only app I have found that is more specifically for picky eating is Choose My Food. The strap-line encourages you to "customise your picky eater's journey to a healthy diet". This app offers parents of picky eaters the possibility of setting up lists of foods their child has tried and has not tried. The child then gets virtual stickers for trying new foods. I have written elsewhere about why I don't advise parents to use reward charts for their picky eaters, and why encouraging children to try new foods is not as helpful as it may seem. I can see the appeal of this app but I would caution parents to think hard about whether they want to approach their child's picky eating in this way.
If you are already using these (or any other app) to support your picky eater, please share your experiences! We'd love to hear from you. What would you like to see in an app for a picky eater? Do you think they are a good idea? Join the conversation.