Amy is hosting Kitchen Tip Tuesdays for me today! Be sure to head over to her blog to read about making fresh strawberry limeade slushes, and you can add your links over there this week too! :)
My tip this week is about dealing with fussy eaters at the dinner table!
I've gotten a number of emails from moms wondering what to do with children who are picky eaters. One mom writes:
I have three kids age 6 and under. My husband is an over the road trucker and gone all the time. It's hard to come up with stuff that everyone will eat. No one likes hamburger. Not big on the veggies, although I do offer them. What can you suggest?
Our children actually eat some of whatever we're having for our meals. We have made them do this from the time they started eating solid foods (at about 10 months old) starting with whatever they were able to eat. I started with giving them some of whatever vegetable we were eating for the meal. Then fruit... that sort of thing.
Gradually they have developed a taste for most things, and they must eat at least a bite of even the things they don't care for. For the longest time, my boys didn't care for lettuce, so I would only make them eat 1 small leaf on their plate. Over the last year or so, I have gradually increased and they now are accustomed to eating 8-10 small lettuce leaves on their plates when we have salad at our meal. (For reference, my boys are currently 3 and almost-5.)
If they are being particularly fussy about a meal, it usually means they aren't really that hungry, and we let them wait to eat. NO snacks and certainly NO desserts until they have eaten the "real food" for the meal.
When a child is hungry, they become much less particular about what they will eat. ;) If my children don't want to finish their food, that is fine, but they do not get any sweets/dessert and when they are hungry later for a snack, they have to finish their food first.
It sounds kind of hardline, and I suppose it is. But this strategy has eliminated most mealtime issues and our children are happy, healthy eaters! :)
I know there are certain foods that my children may never develop a taste for, and that is all right. Since we are offering them several healthy foods at each meal, they can fill up on what they do like while still eating a little of what they don't like as well. (And in my experience, if given the option, children will usually gravitate towards the sweets/desserts and pass over the healthy stuff even if they like the healthy stuff!)
Anyway, I hope some of this info can be helpful to you as you go about deciding what changes to incorporate in your home to help mealtimes become less stressful! :)
Does anyone else have good tips to add on the topic of children and eating? I'd love to hear them! Even though what I outlined above has worked well for us, I'm all about new ways to make life more fun! :)
Also, be sure to head over to Amy's blog this week for more great kitchen tips! :)