How well my kids eat is relative. There are some kids that eat much more nutritiously than my crew. But I think we rank up there with the “what is that green stuff” crowd. Most of the time when other kids come over they decline my food. They don’t recognize it. See it’s in the shape of food that came from the earth. Sorry we don’t serve dinosaurs. And, our meal is colorful but rarely is there something pink or turquoise on it. Though I did try to convince them edible flowers was cool. Not “their” thing apparently.
I don’t really give them choices about what is for dinner. I don’t get paid for what I do. But there are a lot of choices on the plate and if you can’t deal with what’s on the plate their is salad. There is ALWAYS salad. And what I mean by that is mixed greens (romaine, spinach, arugula, endive etc.) micro-green and/or shoots (pea shoots, sunflower shoots). Cucumbers, a variety of peppers and large shavings of carrot might be in there if we have it. At first my kids thought I was crazy but as I add new things the old “crazy” stuff is there go to items. My kids LOVE fresh spinach now and will ask for extra spinach instead of the pea shoots. They might not like arugula but they deal with it better as a micro-green. The thing is I KEEP giving it to them.
I don’t sneak things in their food. I do add items but I don’t hide it from them. Part of the reason I will grate carrots, zucchini, squash, eggplant or add peppers to things like spaghetti sauce is that it helps the food go further. Meat, especially organic local meat, is an expensive alternative to making food go further. The kids see what I add to dinner. They ask what is that. They ask if they like it. And they ask to help. Scrub carrots, peel things, chop, grate. Toss the salad. Shake the dressing. Everyone can get in on a little of the action. So from adding things to spaghetti sauce they can look at ratatouille and not freak out because they have already eaten those same ingredients just served differently.
I also don’t freak out if they refuse to eat. Honestly, I have seen children survive on much less than my kids. I’m not going to fight over dinner. It’s the end of the day, we are all beat and nothing good comes of you. You know what happens when you try and force a kid to eat something THEY KNOW THEY HATE – they spit/puke it back up. Then you have to clean that up. And, at least in my house, a few others start to gag, someone might start to cry and now NO ONE is eating dinner.
I don’t think it does my kids any good serving them what they think they want to eat. And, I don’t really think it makes life easier for anyone. What do you do when you are not home? Does your kid refuse to eat? Do you bring their food with you every where you go?
And, yes, when we go out to eat my kids eat Thai, Mexican, Indian etc. You should have the seen the stunned looks on their faces at a local ethnic resaurant when a child at the table next to them had chicken and fries and my oldest daughter said, “Why would eat that when you could have this?”
I’m going to share mine so please share yours – tips:
My kids go back and forth on edamame as a snack. I found that they love to snack on blanched sugar snaps instead.
We planted a garden and they love to taste the herbs and greens in the garden. They may not always enjoy eating them but they love to try them.
You have heard it before. Let them get involved. If you can’t handle help in the kitchen let them help you make the menu and do the shopping.Read More