As a mom of four, creating recipes that marry nutrition with kid-approved taste is my specialty. It is my goal to make mealtime a stress-free endeavor at your house, because no parent or caretaker wants a home-cooked meal to be met with resistance at the dinner (or breakfast, or school lunch) table.
I have experienced nearly every eating speed bump and hurdle when it comes to cooking for and feeding children of all ages, and I am here to solve the picky eater predicament! So how are we going to get kids of all ages to fuel their bodies with all the good stuff? I’m so glad you asked!
Remove Power Struggles In the Kitchen
Children crave control and the ability to make their own decisions, and that includes what they eat! By providing reasonable options and letting kids choose (more on this later), they’ll be more likely to eat what’s on your preferred menu.
Vary Shapes, Textures and Temperatures
It’s amazing how presenting the exact same food in two different shapes, textures or temperatures can be the difference between a firm “no” and a “try bite” (our family rule when it comes to new foods).
Texture and temperature play just as much of a role in eating as taste. Steering clear of steamed broccoli? Blend it into pesto for an undetectable veggie addition to beloved pasta. Can’t do “slimy” sliced bananas? Top them with crushed cereal or pretzels to lend crunch. Hearty beans get the boot? Stir a puréed version into soups as a dairy-free thickening agent.
Get Creative with Utensils
This one’s for all my fellow practical people. When it comes to how children eat, offer a choice of utensils, from rainbow forks to kid-friendly chopsticks to tiny tongs. You’d be surprised what can happen when you let kids decide how a food makes it from their plate to their mouth.
Allow Kids to Take Action
Action = control! Include an action item with meals, whether that’s dunking veggies into a dipping sauce, cutting pasta with kid-safe scissors or sandwiching foods together. The more involved kids are in making or assembling a recipe, the more likely they are to eat it.
Model Good Behavior
What kids see, they do. If adults are trying various foods and have a wide-ranging palate, kids are more likely to follow. One practical tip? Try letting your child feed you a food first and then you take a turn feeding it to them.
Our family has a rule called The Try Bite. No one can refuse a new food without first having one taste. I always remind my kids that it was The Try Bite that first introduced them to mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and all of their other culinary favorites.
QUICK CHICKEN DINNERS
Discover poultry perfection with nuggets, tenders and more