Food Fights

Sharon writes:

Getting toddlers to eat their fruits and vegetables is tough. Getting three toddlers to eat their fruits and vegetables is nearly impossible. I have found a few simple “tricks” that help to ensure that meal time is a little easier to digest:

Almost any child will eat vegetables if they can be dipped in something, whether it’s ketchup or ranch dressing. My daughter even dips cooked carrots in ketchup!

Kids love to eat with their hands. I never get an argument if I serve corn on the cob or watermelon as a side dish.

Sometimes I’ll serve “snacks” for lunch. This consists of chunks of cheese, raisins, black olives, and small crackers. When all the food is snack-like, kids don’t realize that it is also good for them.

When making french toast, I add a few tablespoons of mashed sweet potato to the egg mixture before soaking the bread. It gives the toast a light, sweet flavor and boosts the nutritional value.

Audrey's Hardcore Food Policy:

I never cooked different foods for my children. Luckily, neither of them was a picky eater. Even when they were babies, I would puree whatever I'd prepared for their father and I, and that's what they got. My daughter loved pureed stir fry though it looked like the dog's dinner to me. When the kids got older, if they said they didn't like whatever I'd prepared for supper, I'd simply say, “That's fine, the next meal is breakfast.”

The last year I made my daughter's lunch, she convinced me that she hated peanut butter so I spent a year without using that marvelous staple of sandwich making. When September rolled around again, I told her that she was now in charge of her own lunches. She made herself peanut butter sandwiches almost every day.

Rachel adds:

Really, I think the most remarkable thing about the food fight in our household is that it is a total non-issue. Right from the start, I decided that this was not going to be a battle I was interested in fighting. I serve the kids whatever we are eating. I have never made a big fuss about having to eat anything in particular, I just put things on their plates and have discovered that most of the time they will eat their vegetables without a problem. In fact, my kids love veggies now. A pediatrician once told me that as long as they had a more or less balanced diet on a weekly (not daily) basis, they would be fine. From that point on, I never worried about it.

Kathy has a great solution!

I wish I could take credit for the wonderful sense of adventure my children have regarding food. The hotter and spicier the better, as far as they are concerned! This all comes from their father, who does most of the cooking, and will truly eat anything. What I tell the moms who ask for my advice on this topic, comes from Ellen Satter, a nutritionist out of the University of Wisconsin. She writes great books about feeding children. She states simply that is our responsibility to provide healthy food for our children, it’s their responsibility to eat it… or not. As a young mother, this was liberating for me! I did my job, and put a reasonably healthy meal in front of them. If they didn’t eat it, that was their problem. Another meal would come along in a few hours, and then maybe they could get Dad to cook it!

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