July 27, 2011

Have You Ever Said "EAT YOUR VEGGIES!!"?

With toddlers this seems to be an all to familiar statement. However, usually at our house it's not the veggies we have problems with. Here are a few ways to get your children to eat heather...for any type of food.

1. Make eating interesting - We like to ask B and C questions about their food. Is it hot, cold, slimy? Does it taste like chicken, cheese, strawberries? For little kids this is a great way to get them to at least try something which is always the first step.

2. Don't ask if they like it - This is a big mistake I see people make. If you never give them the chance to say they don't like something but instead emphasis how much you do like it, they are a lot more likely to try it and eat just a little. E and I always make a point to say how good something is right when we start eating, this encourages the boys without us talking directly to them because they think, well mom and dad like it so it must be good.

3. Go shopping together - this is a great way for kids to learn about different foods. While you're shopping don't just yell at them to stay right there, talk about the different foods and where they come from. Just a few weeks ago C's therapist told me she was talking to a 12 year old who didn't know where milk cam from. This  is a basic skill that we should make sure all our kids have.

4. Let the kids help you cook - many of B and C's favorite meals are the ones they get to help make. Yes, it takes a little longer and can be more frustrating but kids are much more likely to eat something they helped make.

5. Keep things basic - you don't need ten items on the table. Give children age appropriate servings of two or three things at each meal. This means there are less choices and they don't have as much to think about.

6. Kids won't starve themselves - you don't have to keep giving your kids other things because they won't eat a specific part of a meal. Kids will eat eventually so give them what's for dinner (even the veggies) and don't give them more anything until it's gone. This is easiest to start when kids are little but can be adapted for any age.

7. Make kid friendly foods - kids are more likely to eat things that look like what they are, example baked potatoes rather than mashed. It's a simple concept but not many parents think about the fact that when you're learning what things are and how they taste it's harder to remember if it keeps coming back in a different form.

8. Eat with your kids - once again, kids are more likely to eat what they see their parent's eating. If you never eat with their kids they can't know what you like.

9. Grow a garden - like helping cook, helping grow your own food encourages kids to try the fruits of their labors. For example, B and C have eaten a lot more eggs since we got chickens that they help care for.

10. Don't give up - just because your child doesn't eat something today it does not mean you should quit trying. Kids are finicky and will change their mind. When you serve a food they haven't liked in the past don't start with "I know you don't like this" just put it on their plate and chances are they will eat it.

Feeding kids can be a difficult task but it is something you can get better at. If you do have problems talk to your doctor. Texture dislike is common in kids and they can help you find ways to get around it.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” 

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