Thursday, June 10, 2010

picky eaters

I have been wanting to post on this topic for awhile now. For the most part my kids are great eaters. Of course all kids can be picky, but as parents you need to help minimize their pickiness as much as possible. My older two are totally different when it comes to eating. Brody is really picky about how his food looks and what is in his meal. Whereas, Piper really cares about the taste of the food. I have some rules about eating in our family that I think help with making sure they don't turn into monsters at the table.

1. I only make one meal each night. I do not make separate food for the kids UNLESS I'm feeling really lazy and decide the kids can pick. This does not happen often.
2. For the most part, every meal has parts for the kids. A main part, a veggie, maybe a fruit or a grain.
3. In general, I find that I deconstruct most meals. Tonight I made Chicken Chili in the crockpot. For the kids I separated things so it wasn't so overwhelming. So shredded chicken as one part, beans and corn as another and then some fruit. It also helps this way because I know Brody doesn't care for tomatoes so I can kind of take those out.
4. I do not make my meals based on the kids. They can try whatever we make or at least like part of it.
5. I have bribed the kids to try new things. I never did it daily. It worked because I never do it anymore, I don't need to. I like using marshmallows, fruit popsicles or like 5 M&M's.
6. The kids do not get snacks after dinner. Ever. If they say they are not hungry and don't finish their dinner, there is no other food (no matter how much they cry....and they have cried).
7. I tell them all the time my expectations for their dinner when I serve it, like "you need to eat all your green beans tonight." I make sure they do too (although if they are eating really well I don't care about a few extra green beans on the plate).
8. Going back to the lazy part. It has to be a real bad day for the kids to eat chicken nuggets, little pizzas, hot dogs, quesadillas, etc. for their dinner. These are lunch foods if they are really lucky. Do not give your kids these for dinner on a regular basis.
9. If you have nothing for dinner go to the store and buy a precooked chicken. Steam up some green beans (you can buy the microwave steamers too) and make some brown rice. Throw a sliced apple on the table too. It might sound boring, but it's my last minute go-to dinner and it's healthy. (Make sure you take the skin off the chicken)
10. I could go on forever, but my main advice is just to be thoughtful about what you serve your kids (at every meal). The more you offer, the more they eat and try new things. Keep lots of food for the kids at home and change it up at their meals so they are use to having yogurts somedays, applesauce others, etc.

I am not this crazy, healthy cook. I am a regular mom. My kids DO eat chicken nuggets, peanut butter & jelly, fruit snacks and normal kid stuff. But I do not buy cookies, Dorritos, sugary cereals, etc for the house. Pay attention to what you buy. Read labels. I also do not give my kids soda....and I won't until they can buy it themselves. Heck, I rarely have juice in the house. You are starting their food habits for the rest of their lives!

Now I just need to work on our eating-out habits!


The Duff Family said...

I love your advice but my problem with Braden is he will not try anything new. Sometimes I can get him to but he usually says he doesn't like it. Most things he does try he gags on. Any suggestions?

Amanda's Favs said...

OMG Alison, I feel your pain. Brody use to actually make himself throw up when we made him try things.... so gross. My suggestion.... offer him small treats (or something he likes) if he chews and finishes the whole thing... maybe more if he eats it again. Keep offering the food over and over again. Today, Brody ate blueberries. I've been trying to get him to eat blueberries forever. And he said that they are his new favorite fruit. Same with avocado... suddenly he loves them and he eats them in big chunks.