Lately I have gotten very tough in the kitchen, I’m no longer cooking separate meals. Not that I really did it too much but with the kids older now, their palettes are changing anyway and they are enjoying more varieties of foods.
Whatever I serve is what they eat. If they don’t eat it then they will be hungry. My new saying is “This is what’s for dinner, dinner time is now”. If they don’t eat it and say they’re hungry at bedtime, I tell them breakfast is at 7.
Miss Gremlin is the one that this is affecting the most but she’s getting there. This might sound mean and you might think “But they need to eat something”. My theory is no child will deliberately starve themselves and if you continue to serve healthy foods they will just eat it, eventually. There are plenty of tactics kids use to get out of eating something they don’t want to. They’ll say they’re full after 2 bites or they’ll fill up on drink. They might even fein exhaustion.I say that’s fine, I’ll save it for later if you’re hungry. That way they know that this is what they’ll be eating so they might as well just eat it. Of course if your child is used to getting what they want and eating very little in the way of variety then you have a bit of work to do but it can be done, slowly change the way you do things and keep offering everything. I have a friend who used to use lots of small bowls for her kids meals, so it didn’t look so overwhelming on the plate. This worked great and I did it with my kids for a long time as I transitioned them. You can then also make sure they’re getting a little of everything to eat. The best part is that the kids think they are getting a “special courses” meal!
An example might be a small bowl of soup, some salad or fruit, then a small amount of protein and veges. It can actually be a really fun dinner time when they eat like that. It’s a great way to transition from toddler to preschooler, where their culinary experiences often consist of mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.
If you think the fight is all too hard then try hiding the veges in things like mac and cheese (add pureed sweet potato or cauliflower) and in pasta sauce (hide pureed carrot and zucchini) There are many books on the market to show you how this can be achieved. I like [amazon_link id=”006176793X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Deceptively Delicious[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”0071744363″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The No Cry Picky Eater Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage your Child to Eat-and Eat Well.[/amazon_link]
I’ve tried all these different ways and now that they’re 11 and 8 I have just gone the hard line…. I try to plan food that would be yummy to them anyway but always with nutritious content and balanced carb, protein and veges.
Rather than making chicken nuggets, stuff a chicken breast with pepperoni, cheese and sun dried tomatoes, crumb it and put in the oven. Try sweet potato fries or oven wedges rather than conventional fries. Make mini quiches with diced ham/bacon and cheese. Small changes can be easily achieved to get them to eat better while still enjoying “their kind of food”.