I have had a few people ask me how I approach eating and food with my children, so I thought I’d share. Our approach may not work for everyone, but I feel that it works for our family.
(1) What I make is what’s for the meal — I try to stick to things that I know our family will like, although I do try new dishes all the time. I try to always have something familiar though within a meal. BUT what I make is it. I don’t make separate meals for adults and kids. I don’t make meals according to individuals. I don’t run a restaurant. Our kids do have choices on what to eat for breakfast and lunch. But dinner is what mama plans.
(2) Try one bite — Sometimes my kids won’t like what I’ve prepared, and that’s okay. I don’t like everything there is to eat either. However, we encourage our boys to at least try one bite of whatever it is. They won’t know if they like it or not if they dismiss it without a taste. I’ve heard my 4 year-old on more than one occasion exclaim “I like it!”
(3) Involve them in the cooking — when I can, I try to encourage my kids to help in the kitchen. When they are involved in the process of making the food I find they are more likely to eat it.
(4) Don’t force feeding — I sometimes fall in the trap of bribing my kids with dessert or some other treat to make them eat, but for the most part I trust that when they say they are done, they’re finished. Now, my boys are not failure to thrive or low on the growth charts, so I’m not concerned with them going hungry. They know another meal will be at noon, in the morning, etc. They won’t get dessert if we happen to be having one, because I stress that if you don’t eat the healthy good foods, you don’t get to eat the treats. But I don’t make it a battle either. They are never forced to finish their plate. Sometimes encouraged to take more bites, but that’s it.
Cade and Benjamin LOVE a wide variety of foods and we rarely have to have a battle or difficult time over food. I don’t know if we’re just lucky in that regard, but I like to think that we’re establish good eating habits for them. I cannot force my children to eat, but part of my job as mom is to provide healthy meals for them. I hope this helps someone!