Cooking for Your Kids? Here's Some Inspiration.
Ask different parents about their child's eating habits, and chances are you'll get a few laughs, eye rolls and maybe even looks of despair. Meanwhile, some parents were graced with adventurous, compliant eaters. Regardless of your situation, the common denominator is that you need to feed your kids. If you could use some inspiration, keep reading. Here are five ways to make mealtime a great time for everyone.
1. Normalize Dessert
It's no surprise that kids love dessert, and that deserts are often used as a bribe. And when it's only given after eating dinner or completing household chores, it's no wonder many kids see it strictly as an off-limits treat. What if you were to showcase it as just another food to eat? The logic behind this is that its forbidden nature is taken away, making it less attractive to children.
Start by spending quality time together, whipping up a batch of double chocolate brownies. Factor in math, reading and critical thinking skills. This is also a great opportunity to discuss logistics of your home and how it has the energy to power the hand mixer or the oven. Chances are you'll all enjoy this time so much that it will become a regular thing, and that means your stove and oven will be working overtime. This is the perfect time for considering solar panels for home.
2. Be Patient, Push Limits and Provide Encouragement
Kids are notorious for food pickiness. While it might be easier to just serve what you know they'll eat, there's a balance to strike here, and you'll find it's a lot of trial and error. Don't give up. Be positive.
Introduce different foods one at a time. Maybe you're trying to make broccoli happen and it just hasn't. Keep trying, but be flexible. Offer it with a cheese sauce, or try roasting it in the oven. Have confidence in serving it and pay attention. Chances are that you'll eventually find a method that works.
Don't forget how important it is to lead by example. If your child sees you eating your broccoli and enjoying it, you might find they quickly follow suit. Giving praise when they try new foods and acknowledging that they are trying will go a long way.
3. Play With Your Food
When was the last time you and your kids had fun with your food? If you're wanting to pique their interest, this is a nearly guaranteed strategy.
Some days just call for flower shaped pancakes or rowboat sandwiches and while they will take a little extra time to prepare, you'll (hopefully) reap the benefits of seeing your kids clear their plates and ask for more.
4. Reevaluate Snacking
When you go grocery shopping, how much of your list is geared towards snacks instead of meals? This can be eye-opening, so pay attention next time you shop.
Snacking is a normal part of the day for so many people, adults and kids alike. What's important to take notice is of the quality of snacking taking place. There are so many options for snacks that aren't just wholesome, they're kid-friendly and simple to throw together. Think along the lines of chocolate granola bars or fruit and cheese kabobs.
5. Don't Be a Short-Order Cook
Who hasn't been there? The kids are whining and not eating the dinner you prepared. You're worried that they'll starve, so you try to appease them by making something else. Before you know it, you have three different dinners going and meanwhile, yours is getting cold and frustration sets in. Stop it now, because this isn't helping anyone.
The truth is, kids aren't always going to like what's prepared. What you can do is to always make sure you serve one accepted food at each meal, something you've noticed your child enjoys. Also, spend time researching different kid-approved recipes for inspiration.