Updated: Mar 4
Are you tired of fighting with your kids during meal time? I’ve been there!
Before I became a mom I promised my kids would only eat healthy meals. Anyone else make these grand decisions before having kids?? I’ll wait until you finish laughing to continue hahaha
Now while my promise may have been a hard one to keep, I will say my kids do eat a balanced diet and I try to have them eat as healthy as I can! But even this has its challenges. During the last 7 years I have come up with some tips to make this a little easier and I can’t wait to share them with you!
The biggest piece of advice I’m going to give you, and you may not like it too much is, you have to be a role model. You can’t expect your kids to make healthy choices when they see you making unhealthy ones all the time. I’m sorry if that struck a nerve but facing the truth isn’t always a pretty journey. Your children look up to you. They hear the things you say, they watch the things you do, and they see the foods you eat. Not sure this is true? Try eating a bag of candy without them knowing… yea they’ll know!
I let my kids see me choosing raw veggies for a snack or eating an apple with peanut butter. I keep a fruit basket on the table and they see me reach for something in it when I want a snack. They see me make sure I have a vegetable at my meals and that I take the time to make good choices. If they didn’t see this I can promise you they wouldn’t see the value in these decisions and it would never occur to them to make them!
The next tip is to explore foods. This is a great activity to do as a family. Try new things! They are not going to know if they like new foods if they don’t actually get a chance to eat them. This goes for you as well. Tried asparagus when you were little and hated it and haven’t tried it since, well you should totally pick some up at the store next week and give it a try! Have your kids help you prep the new foods and go through all your senses. What does it smell like, taste, feel? You get the idea! Commit to trying one new type of food a week!
Next is to ask them for input. Yea I know they are 5 and all they want is chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, can you blame them? When I ask my kids for input I don’t leave it entirely open ended. Instead of saying what do you want for dinner I may ask, should I make carrots or broccoli with our hamburgers tonight? Giving them a choice gives them the feeling of being in control and kids LOVE control! You could also say, “I’m making carrots with dinner tonight. Would you like to eat them cooked or raw? It’s your choice!” Again, giving them choices but on my terms!
Finally, make meals that can be customized. I absolutely love making dinner bowls. I start with rice as a base, then add in diced chicken, and then offer a few options to put on top and let my family decide what they want. It may be diced peppers, shredded carrots, olives, and avocado. They get to choose what they put in their bowl! This makes dinner easier because again they are getting a choice!
The biggest rule we have at meal time is that whatever I am making they have to try. So if I make asparagus they have to try a bite each time. If they still don’t like it that is fine they don’t have to eat it. I will give them carrots or peppers instead but they always have to try it!
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