Alright already people! You want tips about feeding your kids? You got it.
My question is, how much time do you have? Because this could take ALL. DAY. Kind of like how kids take FREAKING FOREVER to do EVERYTHING!!! Honestly, sometimes I don’t know how it’s humanly possible to move as slow as my 3 year old does. Every little thing is SUCH a process, and I really try and do my best to be patient, but most of the time I just want to pull my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs, JUST COME OOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!
And sometimes I do. And by sometimes I mean a lot. I’m sorry, sometimes I just can’t deal. So, having said all of that, I’m going to give you some of my toddler tips for food. That seems to be one thing I’ve got a good handle on as a mom.
Let’s face it. I love my kids as much you do, but they can be real pains in the you know what when it comes to eating. I’m certainly no expert on this topic, but I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learned, what works for me, and for my kids. Before I begin, I will tell you that my number one go-to source for all things kid/food related is Weelicious. Catherine Mccord seems to have mastered the toddler/kid food industry and I love her approach, website, and cookbooks. A definite recommendation!
Ok, shall we?
1) Be patient. Exposing your kids to different foods, and teaching them to eat takes time and effort. It just does.
2) Make food interesting. This can mean a lot of things. You don’t have to go all crazy and turn your child’s dinner plate into a scene from Frozen. But do think twice before you throw a bunch of same colored mush on a plate and expect them to eat it just because you said so. Like adults, kids eat with their eyes first. When I say make food interesting, I mean make it colorful, use different shapes, and use variety. Just like us “grown ups” like it! Although, I refuse to actually accept the fact that I’m a real live grown up. Neverrrrrrr!
Take this lunch for example. This lunch box is called the Planetbox, which I absolutely adore. You think it takes longer to pack than a regular sack lunch? Wrong. It’s actually much faster, eliminates all those pesky containers, and in my opinion is much more appealing. All the food is right there in front of their face. They don’t have to dig to the bottom of their lunch box to probably never open half of the stuff in it!
I didn’t do anything fancy. Literally just sliced some cucumber, diced up some apricot and made it look appealing and interesting by using different shapes, colors, and textures! Slice a cucumber in rounds sometimes, and other times in sticks. Changes the whole outlook. Or here… Here, I melted some cheese on a whole grain tortilla, rolled it up and bam, you’ve got a burrito. Threw in some veggies and dip, fruit, crackers, a few yogurt covered raisins for “dessert” and you’ve got yourself one helluvah lunch. You say there’s no way your kid will eat all that? No problem! Put less food in! Mine, believe it or not, will polish this off.
3) Create healthy choices. Yes, it’s tempting and easy to give your kids goldfish, fruit snacks, or pirates booty for their snack everyday. But why not use snack time to experiment, get in some extra healthy nutrients, and some special bonding time?! Create choices. I’m big on offering choices. BUT, be smart about it. If you offer them carrots or cookies, obviously you know the answer. Give them choices you are happy with either way. If you straight up ask you kid what they want for snack, I can almost guarantee they’re not gonna opt for the fruit and veggies over the chips. Why not create healthy choices for them?
For example, one day before Zoe came home from school I already had out the plate of snacks that she and I could share together (see above). I didn’t say a word, I didn’t offer her any. It was just accessible, appealing, and simple. That girl went to town!
When doing something like this I always put something on the plate that I know she will eat. In this case the strawberries were the safe food. Worst case scenario she only ate strawberries for a snack and that’s still a win in my book. Believe it or not, the strawberries were the last thing she went for!
4) Dip. KIDS LOVE TO DIP! Hummus, dressing, yogurt sauce, kids love to dip things, and will try foods you would never think of if there’s a dip nearby.
By introducing some veggies during snack time, I’m not so worried about it during dinner. Sometimes offering foods like veggies at times other than dinner can be just the trick.
5) Deconstruct your kid’s meals. You don’t have to, and shouldn’t make 3 different meals every night. Decide what you want to make, and think about deconstructing that one meal to create an “acceptable” dinner option for your kids. And yes, sometimes this means thinking ahead a little. An example of a deconstructed dinner might be this.
Let’s say I’m making my Orecchiette Pasta Bake for dinner.
And I know that there’s no way my kids will eat this because of what it looks like to them. However, I know they like pasta, cheese, peppers, turkey, etc. So, as I am preparing the dish, I keep aside a small portion of each element. A side of plain cooked pasta, sprinkled with some cheese, cook the turkey meat and set some aside, slice the peppers and set some aside. Now my kids are getting the exact same ingredients, just toned down to their liking. Get it?! It doesn’t have to be exactly this dish, but you get the idea.
Have I completely overwhelmed you yet? Let’s summarize.
1) Be patient.
2) Make food interesting.
3) Create healthy choices.
Okay, I hope this helps!
Is it bedtime yet?