Motherhood, in some ways, is like a well-orchestrated magic act. Clever rouses, schemes, fuzzy fabrics, glitter and glue hide our real motivation: surviving and hoping our kids turn out ok in the end. These tricks-of-the-eye apply to the health and well being of our kiddies too. Trying to get your kids to eat a healthy meal can be more impossible than finding the one, small particular green lego that your 5 year old wants in his huge bin of legos. This is where mama’s need to get clever. I am lucky in the fact that my kids usually eat all their veggies and fruits…meats is where we have our issues. They have all gone through their stages though…one day liking something and the next day hating it. I have used every trick in the book to get my kids to eat right.
Here are some of my more popular ones:
1. The “hidden veggie” trick. I have multiple cookbooks that are full of recipes that call for cups of veggie or fruit purees cleverly hidden in the mix. Clever, yes. Does it work? Yes, normally. It is a pain in the butt? YES. Preparing all those puree’s ahead of time are a nightmare. Ugg. Maybe I should just start buying baby food again and adding it to their mashed potatoes.
2. The “superhero” trick. “Hey, did you know if you eat your chicken, you will be as strong as Spider-man??” Yes, it’s totally true. Just eat them!
3. The “it’s _____’s favorite!!”. Sometimes just telling my daughter that Blue from Blue’s Clues loves toast is enough to get her to eat it. I once made up a huge, long song set to the Thomas the Train theme song for my then toddler son to eat his ham. “Thomas the Tank Engine is eating his ham. Do do do do. Do do do do.” It’s still stuck in my head 3 years later. “Thomas loves his haaaammmmmm.”
4. The “put it on a stick” trick. My kids will eat anything on a stick. I just need to find a way to make a turkey-mashed potato-green bean-and-gravy kabob and we will be all set.
5. The “funny new-name trick”. No, kids, it’s not spaghetti and meatballs, it’s Spider-man webs and Super balls!! Yes, I said super balls. I STILL call broccoli “trees” 7 years later.
6. The “switch-er-roo”. Breakfast for dinner, sandwiches for breakfast. Just because it’s silly it may work!
And when all else fails:
7. The “bribe”. If you eat x amounts of dinner, you get x amount of bites of dessert. Yes, I know it goes against all parenting books but I’m not ashamed to admit it!! I’m a brider!! There, happy? I said it.
When you are confronted with this face at the dinner table:
Sometimes the need for bribes is unavoidable.
What tricks have you used to get your kids to eat?? Please do share! I can always use new tricks, uhh, I mean parenting strategies. 🙂