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FoodPaths - February 2012
The Picky Eaters Project
Children's Chopsticks
A Toy for Table Manners

The simplicity of a stir fry is often overlooked as an easy, accessible and healthy option for a family dinner, combined with the discovery of a fun way to eat new foods. Children's chopsticks present parents with another addition to their family food experience "bag of tricks," and the opportunity to expose children to a different cuisine and culture.

Children’s chopsticks. “Utensil as Toy.”  A special food secret for encouraging the accomplishment of a new skill. Children’s chopsticks present an opportunity to change not only what a child eats, but widen their exposure to how they think about the foods they eat.

Tips:

  • Do not feel you have to limit the children’s chopstick experience to stir fry or Asian food experiences.  Try adapting usage of the utensil for vegetables or other foods.
  • Children often surprise. Once a child begins to experience a wider variety of foods, their palates may well prefer foods with a bit more spice and seasonings.  You can always cut back.
  • “Training Chopsticks” have the potential of transitioning younger children from hand-feeding to learning about tableware and table manners.  Learning to manipulate chopsticks can make holding a fork a cinch.
  • Chopsticks come in different styles, for instance, Japanese chopsticks (called “Hashi’ meaning “bridge,” are more tapered than Chinese.
  • Chopsticks are made in two varieties – right handed and left handed.   Make sure you select the style that most suits your child. 

FoodPaths introduced chopsticks to a child that had never before seen them. The photos tell the story.  The Pororo brand combines both characters and finger loops (important for beginners). We purchased these for under $5.00 at Kamei Restaurant Supply on Clement Street in San Francisco’s Sunset District. They do not have mail order capability, but you can find children’s chopsticks widely available through Amazon.com and other on-line outlets.