The "eyes" have it, when motivating us to eat. Artfully constructed layer cakes. Shiny, shaped chocolates. Rainbow sprinkle cookies. We are invited to consume.
A dish of pale green, limp broccoli may not be too inspiring, but an "Enchanted Broccoli Forest" constructed by you and your child will surely be a hit at dinner time. (From the Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen).
Looking for more inspiration, seek out any books by Joost Elffers and Saxton Freyman such as How are you Peeling, Food Play, Food for Thought or Fast Food. Find instructions such as making a race car out of a small cucumber; hollow out a seat for the driver and attach some zucchini or carrot circles for wheels (little toothpicks to attach). Find some drivers- animal cookies, Kashi Mini-bite cereal pieces or make your own- a cherry tomato, a funny shaped carrot or piece of string cheese with CRAZY hair. It will be pretty exciting when those cars speed through some marinara sauce or get washed in a balsamic dressing car wash. These will surely be a hit for a preschool snack.
Seek out more inspiration by looking at the art of Carl Warner. Your dinners will never be the same.
You can find any of these books at www.lapl.org. You can request the book and have it delivered to your local Los Angeles library free of cost. Look for some of Mollie Katzen's other cookbooks specifically for kids such as Pretend Soup, Honest Pretzels or Salad People. Visit her website for more kid friendly ideas, http://www.molliekatzen.com/kids.php