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Feeding picky eaters.....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hi!  Happy Thursday! 
How is your week going? We have had some great weather so far...which means we have been living at the pool- LOVE it!

Today I thought I would share some thoughts on having picky eaters and some strategies that have worked for us in getting our picky eaters to eat more :)
Of course, take everything I say with a grain of salt...getting kids to eat can be SUCH a battle; every child is different and what has worked for us might not work for you!  These are just some ideas :)

So...our oldest daughter is 6 1/2 and she has, by far, been our pickiest eater.  Aaron and I take a lot of the blame for this as she was our first child and we kind of let her call the shots when it came to what she wanted to eat at a young age.  When she was starting to eat table food, if we gave her something, like pasta, and she didn't like it or eat it- we immediately just gave her what we knew she liked: peanut butter toast.  That sweet girl lived off of applesauce, yogurt and peanut butter toast for a good portion of her 1st and 2nd years of life! HA!  Then we had our 2nd daughter and got A LOT smarter when it came time to feed her table food.  Around 7-8 months, we just started putting bite size pieces of all kinds of food on her plate.  Cereal bars, a variety of fruit, waffles, pizza, meat- you name it!  We didn't stress out if she didn't care for what we gave her...but we kept on introducing her to the foods we were eating.  Now, she is almost 5 and is a CRAZY good little eater.  We did the same with Celine, our youngest daughter, and she is right in the middle of Charlotte and Cora- she is not as picky as Charlotte- but not nearly as adventurous with trying new foods like Cora.  Since about 6 months old, we have been giving James all sorts of table food to try and he has pretty much loved it all- he is very much like his daddy and LOVES to eat!

I keep breakfast and lunch pretty simple around here and while the kids eat a variety of things for those meals...they are all pretty much food I know they LIKE.  Breakfast is either cereal, a banana/pumpkin muffin with yogurt and fruit, a whole grain waffle with applesauce, or pancakes and a fruit.  Lunch is a sandwich (peanut butter or cheese), pretzels or goldfish and some time of fruit.  We pretty much never have any "food battles" at those meals.
Now dinner time is a whole different story- HA!  When it was just the girls and they were younger, I would totally be a short order cook and make them a separate meal if they didn't want to eat the dinner I had made.  Well...I would say over the past two years and consistently over this past year, since we had James, Aaron and I have gotten hard core and DO NOT mess around at dinner time.  

Our kids are expected to eat what I put in front of them.
They are not only expected to eat it, they are not allowed to complain and need to eat their meal with a grateful attitude.
If they DON'T want to eat it, the alternative is they may immediately go get showered and get in their bed for the evening (versus playing, watching a show and then going to bed) AND their un-eaten meal will be wrapped up and served to them at breakfast time.  We used to be very concerned about "What if they don't eat dinner...they're going to be hungry!!"  Well...that's absolutely right- they might be hungry- and they can wake up and eat a nice, hearty breakfast in the morning- which will be their dinner from the night before! :)  

See??? I told you we have gotten hard core! HA!

Here is why I feel comfortable with our dinner time expectations:
  • I very mindfully plan our dinners with our girls' taste buds in mind :)  I do not cook elaborate, non-kid friendly meals like pumpkin and sage risotto with sea scallops (although that sounds absolutely delicious to me! HA!)
  • If we are having the kids try something new, I only give them a small portion of that food- I am not expecting them to eat a heaping amount of food they have never tried before.
  • I feed my kids YUMMY meals.  
  • I always make sure there is at least one item on their plates that I know they really enjoy.
  • I know for a fact, that if my kids are truly hungry- they WILL eat.
  • There are MILLIONS of children around the world starving and unsure of their next meal; my children are blessed beyond measure to have food put in front of them at every meal and there is NO reason they shouldn't eat it happily.

All of the reasons I have listed above, we openly discuss with our girls.  They know where we stand with our meal time expectations and honestly, since we have gotten "hard core" dinner time has gotten SO MUCH easier!! 

Here are few others things that have helped us have more success in general with our kids being better eaters :
-I really monitor snacks and drinks during the day.  If my kids are snacking and filling up on milk and water all day- well of course they aren't going to be hungry at dinner!
-Smoothies are HUGE at our house- I put spinach, blueberries, peaches, strawberries and greek yogurt in it- SO healthy, the girls and James love them, and it makes me feel good to know that I am getting a good, solid dose of fruits and veggies in my kids!
-Finally- we are not above a little bribery:) You would be surprised how fast food gets eaten when there is the promise of a little vanilla pudding or 10 M&M's!! :)

So...do you think we are mean parents?? HA!
Do you have food struggles at your house?  Have you come up with some effective ways of getting your kids to be better eaters??

Here's to an awesome day and no complaining at dinner time!! :)

Linking up with Annie and Natalie today!

4 comments:

  1. I love this! My 4 year old eats like a bird but my 1 year old eats EVERYTHING; Im going to have to employ your hard core dinner tactics, thanks!

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  2. Love this! I read a great book called French Kids Eat Everything (I wrote a review on it a few months back!) and this reminds me a lot of the principals discussed in that book! Keep it up mama!

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    1. Hi Heather!! I need to read that book now!! Definitely going to check out your review on it!!
      Thanks for letting me know about it! Hope you have a great day and an awesome weekend!

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  3. Great ideas. We've been blessed with a little one who up to this point, at least always "tries" whatever we put in front of her. Granted she'll let us know immediately if she doesn't like it but at least she tries. I generally don't make her anything in addition to what we're eating. I just try to ensure that at least one thing we are having is something I know she likes...and this child will dip ANYTHING (I mean anything...today it was strawberries!) in ranch dressing...so that helps if I need a little extra incentive.

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I love hearing from you! Let's keep it nice though...ain't nobody got time for anything else!

 
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