~Thank you to Gotrovo for providing a Mealtime Treasure Hunt for review. This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase.~
I used to sarcastically brag that my 5 year old son had quite the food palette, with a diet that consisted mostly of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and hot dogs. So sophisticated, right? But now I can do some real bragging and I owe all my thanks to Gotrovo.
I’ve tried a few different tactics to get my son eating new and different foods. I’ve tried hidden veggie recipes, letting him help prepare his meals, cute food creations and even the eat it or do without method (most of the time he’d choose to go hungry, which broke my heart). After all of these fails, I knew I needed a different tactic and that’s what Gotrovo’s Mealtime Treasure Hunt offers.
Concept & Setup
The whole concept behind the Mealtime Treasure Hunt is that kids get rewarded in a fun way (getting to the treasure) for trying new foods. The set, which includes a washable double-sided treasure map, a plate, bowl, cup, fork and shovel (spoon), navigation coin and reward cards, all have a treasure theme.
The map features things like treasure chests, pirate ships, castles, fairies, mermaids and waterfalls. My son absolutely loves everything pirates and treasure, so I knew for sure this was exactly what he needed.
To get started with the Mealtime Treasure Hunt, you simply set up the place setting. Put the map down (either side), choose the treasure and place the appropriate reward card on top of the treasure chest in the middle of the map. Then set the plate of food on top of that and add the fork and shovel, which is just too cute by the way. It’s a spoon, but looks like a shovel for digging up the treasure. And don’t forget the cup or drink to wash the dirt off any treasures found.
Treasure Hunt Rules
One of the things about the Mealtime Treasure Hunt that I really like, is that you’re in control of the foods offered. You get to choose the rules of the hunt, too.
For my son, I decided that each bite he took would get him one step closer to the treasure. So after every bite he moves the coin to the next spot on the map until he gets all the way around and to the treasure. Ten bites of food and he’s treasure bound!
As a kid who has a limited taste for food, I feel like this is suitable for him, but you can change the rules depending on what you’re trying to get out of your child. I just wanted the boy to take a bite of something he wouldn’t normally eat. Once he starts eating more foods on a regular basis without using the Mealtime Treasure Hunt, I’ll change the rules to continue challenging him.
You’re also in control of the treasure. Just think of anything you know your child would enjoy and pick one as the treasure for that particular meal. And any meal at that – breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s great for all meals and even dinner’s out. Just take the map and navigation coin along with you.
As for the treasure, there’s even a reward card that lets your child choose his own treasure once he reaches it. But again, it’s all up to you how you set it up and let it play out.
- Child’s favorite candy
- FaceTime with grandparent(s)
- Hour at the park
- New toy
- Weekend at grandma’s (this is a win-win for parent and child, haha)
- Favorite food for lunch tomorrow
- New crayons
- Trip to the library
- Outing to a matinee movie
- Skip a chore
In my opinion, the more involved the treasure, the more involved getting to the treasure should be. For example, if the treasure is an outing to a matinee movie, I would make the treasure hunt a little more challenging, meaning the meal is a little more challenging for your child. I might require my son to take more bites of veggies to get to the treasure.
Does it work?
So how did my son do? Let’s just say he’s a challenge himself. The first night was a complete failure. He didn’t even take one bite! But I think I know why. I was so excited to give the Mealtime Treasure Hunt a go, that I went into it a little too strong. I gave him a plate with all foods that he wouldn’t normally eat and I think that was a mistake on my part.
I offered meatloaf, roasted potatoes and cabbage. I knew for sure he wouldn’t eat the cabbage, but I still wanted it on his plate for exposure. I thought for sure he’d at least take a bite of the potatoes because I even put ketchup on them. He eats ketchup on everything! But no. Not. One. Single. Bite.
I realized that I needed to ease him into it and couldn’t expect him to dive right in, even though that would have been great. So the next time we tried the Mealtime Treasure Hunt (must have been wild hair day too, haha) I made it a little easier for him. I gave him chicken, which I knew he’d eat, but only gave him enough bites of it to get him eight steps closer to the treasure.
This left him with two more bites to X marks the spot. And to my surprise he took a bite of rice and then ate a piece of carrot. I almost cried! He never eats rice or carrots, and he ate both bites like it was nothing.
He reached the treasure and claimed his prize of M&M’s (his favorite candy). He was so excited that he got the treasure. I think giving him that initial push of being so close to the treasure helped a lot and knowing it would only take two more bites to reach his destination, it was a breeze for him and a victory for me.
Since then we’ve had some failures, but we’ve also had some victories. In my book, no victory is too small. Just the other day, he took a few bites out of a burrito, which is another food he would have never even looked twice at. I let him help me put it together and it was nothing but a little rice, ground beef and shredded cheese, but this was huge for him!
That particular night I let him take the shortcut to the treasure, which is another cool feature of the Mealtime Treasure Hunt. If your child is struggling, is eating a smaller meal, or as in this case, eating multiple bites of the same thing, the map offers a shortcut that only takes seven bites to get to the treasure.
Now my son asks about his treasure map when it’s time to eat. He knows all of the great treasures that could be in store for him and it makes mealtime fun. When I tell him that he gets to use his treasure map, he always says “Okay, I’m going to eat chicken and rice and carrots.” As I mentioned above, that was the first meal he ate and successfully found the treasure. I just melt when he says he wants to eat rice and carrots. Hopefully soon he’ll start eating them without needing a reward for doing so.