feeding kids. sigh.

I have kids. They eat.
It’s not always that simple.
And if you are a parent, you get it.
They can be picky.
They can be stubborn.
They can be kids.

My kids are pretty well rounded eaters.  Which might not surprise you, but it wasn’t always easy.  I maybe a dietitian who straight out of college worked at WIC helping moms feed their kids, but I didn’t always do what I preached.  Then I realized how important it was not just for the physical health but for their mind.

Nutrition affects EVERYTHING.  everything. every. thing.
So please don’t be resigned to the fact that your kids only eat chicken nuggets and that’s just what you are going to feed them.
I will share what I did to make changes that have lasted.
I did it.  You can too.

I start by being a good role model. I eat good food. Most of the time.
I don’t want my kids to not know what a Fruit Loop is or what it tastes like, I just don’t want them eating them every week.

I buy, make and offer good food.  Part of offering good food is not buying the crap.
If you have a pantry full of fruit snacks and sugary granola bars then it will be easy to just hand those to them when it’s snack time.

I include them in the preparation of meals.  It’s not always fun.
It’s not always easy but it makes them want to eat what they just helped make.

I have them help me with the garden.  Planting, tending, harvesting.
Even just a potted tomato plant will do.  Kids take pride in doing things.

I offer foods that they might not like even if I know they don’t.  They must try it.  Every time it’s offered.

Repeatedly offering foods and repeated exposures to those foods increase the likelihood that they will someday like it.  My kids didn’t come out of the womb loving broccoli. But they do now.
I would serve it once a week. every week. plain with no sauce. and eventually they asked for it.

I’m not making that up though as I type it, it sounds made up.
And one of their favorite vegetables? (this will sound made up too…)
Brussels sprouts. Seriously. They love them which brings me to my next point.

Don’t cook the vegetables the same way over and over.
The best way to cook veggies for kids is to roast them.
It does require turning on the oven at a fairly high temperature so it’s not as quick and easy as microwaved broccoli (a stable for us) but it will knock their socks off.
We roast Brussels sprouts (recipe here) and everyone loves them. Everyone.

Always have something on the table that you know they like that is good for them.
Our meals consist of a main dish, a vegetable and a fruit and usually cheese.
If they don’t like your roasted chicken breast, then they can eat the apple slices or the carrots with dip.
The first step is to just offer it. Make it available and don’t give up.

My kids don’t dig spicy stuff so I usually temper the spice then hubby and I will add it to our own serving.  There is no reason to not try new things just because they have spice–adjust accordingly to your family’s tastes and make new things.

Lastly, I tell them why nutrition is important.
That sounds deathly boring but I put it in simple terms.
Apples are full of fiber that helps us poop which makes us feel better than when we can’t poop.
Berries are full of vitamins and minerals that fight off the bad “guys” aka germs that try to attack our bodies.
Meat and beans contain protein that help us build muscle for running and playing.
Spinach dipped in dressing is like eating a super hero cape that has magical powers when you eat it.
It just helps our bodies do great things.
Kids will get it.  Just try.

eat good food. buy good food. make good foods. offer good foods.  talk about good food. try new good foods.
include kids in growing, buying and preparing.

It’s all part of feeding our kids well.

You can do it. Truly, you can.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Total Time:
50 min
10 min
40 min
Yield:6 servings

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All Rights Reserved
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-brussels-sprouts-recipe2.print.html?oc=linkback


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