Monday, September 17, 2012

Mom on a Mission

That's right. I am currently a mom with a mission....to get my kids to eat different foods; healthier foods. Until he was about 2 1/2, Zachary was a fantastic eater. He would honestly eat anything we gave him. Vegetables, give me more. A Cheeseburger was his favorite meal. Grilled chicken, no problem. Then he started exerting his own mind and the other day he told me that he would eat "chicken nuggets, hot dogs, pizza". Ummm....NO! He is now 5 1/2 years old and has a very strong will (wonder where he got that from?!). And of course his little brother takes all of his cues from his big brother. If Zachary won't eat it, chances are Jacob won't either. Now, there are other foods that they do eat other than the three, but some days I feel like they won't eat anything not covered in cheese and pizza sauce.

I have learned a lot about cooking and cooking healthier in the past few years. I am not a foodie, I just enjoy cooking and eating. Especially the eating part :) (hence the running and exercise...) Yesterday, I scoured my Pinterest food board for meal ideas that everyone might eat. I got a menu plan that both adults and children would hopefully be happy with.

It will be a long process and not every day will be good. I know that I just cannot give up like I have done in the past. I get frustrated and go back to making a few meals that I know won't be a struggle. Let's face it....we have enough battles in our lives, adding another one at the end of the day just makes me tired!

One thing that we have started doing is having Zachary help us plan the menu for the week. We tell him what meals we are making and then ask him for one or two suggestions that I try to add into the menu.
Thanks Dori at Riches to Rags!

Last night I made a Grilled Balsamic Bruchetta Chicken. It was delicious! The kids both said it was good...covered in cheese, how could it not be?! But, they each ate a few bites and declared themselves finished. I've always been told that you have to offer a child something 15 times (or is it 30? please tell me it's NOT 30!) in order for it to work. I know they have been offered chicken (not breaded!) more than 15 times so this is the strong willed aspect just coming out...

I'm excited to see what they think of a couple of the meals that I have planned for the week, but I'm also trying to not get my hopes up too high. I know we we be working on this for quite a while.

Hiding different veggies in their foods, yep, I do that. Add white beans to a cheese tortilla, put spinach in a smoothie, black beans in "cake", Zucchini cookies. Yes, I have made all of those. Need to get the healthy stuff in them somehow!

The struggle to eat different foods is not unique to my family. I have had conversations with many parents on what we've tried, what works, what doesn't, etc. My goal is to have family meal times be an enjoyable time for all of us, not something that we dread.

What tips or tricks do you have for getting your kids to eat different foods and not have meal time a constant battle? 

12 comments:

  1. My 4.5 year old son is a picky eater. I try not to stress about it. He eats enough variety to appease me, although I wish his list of foods he eats was a tad longer.

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  2. That chicken looks delish! Perhaps I should rethink my anti-pinterest lifestyle. ;)
    Good luck with this. It seems like a never ending battle, but it does get better if you stay consistent.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing when I saw that Jamie. I signed up for Pinterest but haven't used it!

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    2. Pinterest is great. I find that I don't have as many random pieces of paper floating around the kitchen and/or office since I can just keep them on the computer. (i used to print out every recipe that sounded good).

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  3. leading by example and letting them help make things in the kitchen are two good ways that i have found to help!! im a nanny and my little ones love good healthy foods because they love to eat what i eat and they also just adore helping to make fun things in the kitchen! happy monday and spa love!

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    1. Thanks, Jenna! My boys are finally starting to get more interested in helping in the kitchen. Hopefully that helps.

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  4. My daughter (7) is an awesome eater. HOWEVER, her brother (8) is not. He's been doing better. My wife has changed her diet a lot the past 6 months (I made a huge change about 4 years ago) and that has helped my son's eating. He does try foods now that he never would have tried before. We also have slowed down with making him something different. There are times when we're trying something totally new that we'll have something slightly different from what we are eating for him, and sometimes my daughter. Keep it up!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement. Hopefully as they get older, they will be more willing to try more foods.

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  5. We may be an anomaly, but no matter what we put down in front of both our kids, they eat it. My kids like brussell sprouts, asparagus... even cabbage! I am sure our friends with picky kids hate us at dinner parties...

    I think it stems from us eating as healthy as we can (I am Diabetic T2) and if we eat it, the kids eat it. We also have the decree "that is your dinner. If you do not like it, you will be very hungry later, right?". It works.

    That said, we appease them with lots of fun things. It is easier to eat a lot of broccoli if they are trees and your 4 year old son is a tree-eating giant. Faces made out of vegetables ensure they get gobbled. Having a "hands only" meal takes pressure off kids to have manners and finish their plate, or "eat with a serving utensil" pasta night is a great riot (be prepared for cleanup). If you make food fun, kids get joy out of eating. Trust me, when you are wearing a mixing bowl as a hat, trying to eat spaghetti with a soup spoon and tongs, your children will be too busy having fun to notice that they have eaten a whole bowl, complete with veggie-laced sauce!

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    1. That's a great point! We have taken a lot of the pressure off by not "making" them eat it, but, we still want them to eat and not be hungry. Will definitely have to start getting more creative in the presentation. Thanks for the tips.

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  6. I'm having the same issue, I took to it at my blog a week or so ago, and Jamie gave me great support, I committed myself to having to struggle with the meals for at least a year. I tell my boys that they have to try two new things a week (so it's not overwhelming!). My goal is to not be a short order cook and try to incorporate one of their likes (pasta, rice) etc into every meal, and twice a week they have to try two new things- whether it's chicken, fish, a veggies. I'm also telling them that after they try 20 new things they will get a big reward (maybe surprise them and take them out of school for the last half hour, and go somewhere special) and the new things can be new treat foods too - just to make it fun. It's been working because we have been really consistent, plus they like to know that they are working towards their goal! You have support here, and I'm totally going to use pinteret for new ideas!

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