Okay, since watching the new program with Jamie Oliver: Food Revolution that was on last week, what a wake up call I tell ya, I've been psyched about clean eating. Now, I am having the hardest trouble feeding my little ones (5 and 2.5 year old twins). They never really were junk food eaters but I could drastically improve on the main dishes they like. So yesterday we had steel oats with cut stawberries and 2 out of 3 didn't eat it. This morning I made egg whites with cut tomatoes and yellow pepper with cheese and 2 out of 3 didn't eat that either. Any ideas on breakfast and lunch ideas? Peanut butter and jelly (natural) is getting old. I'm thinking of getting Tosca's book but I need a few ideas to get me over till I purchase. Thanks so much for your help.
My number one tip for getting kids to eat something they might not otherwise...get them intimately involved with the obtaining and prep of that thing.
Examples - head to a farmer's market, let the kids choose the vegetables they want with dinner that week. Visit a garden center and plant a garden (almost EVERY kid will try a veggie that they grew themselves, and even a 2.5 year old can water a small pot of herbs on a patio or balcony). Go to the store and tell the kids they each get to pick one fruit to try this week. Let them tear the lettuce for a salad, or pour the ingredients for a salad dressing into a clean mason jar or plastic tupperware container, seal tightly, and let them shake it up (even a toddler can do that). Go to markets and look at all of the colors and textures of the produce, and pick and prepare them together.
With the younger ones, you might also "hide" veggies in normal recipes (like butternut squash mac and cheese, shredded veggies inside turkey meatloaf, lots of veggies in soups and chilis, etc), but remember that if your kid doesn't KNOW that they are eating veggies and whole foods, they won't learn life lessons about what "eating healthy" means. It's a good stopgap measure to get some extra nutrition in, but I strongly believe that tricking kids into eating vegetables doesn't work long-term.
03-25-2010, 03:09 PM
A child needs to see a new food 12 times before they will even put it in their mouth.
Just keep trying. I have a home daycare, and serve organic foods and fresh fruits and veggies that most kids (and parents) have never had on their plates. Yes, it does seem like a waste...you will toss many little chunks of things...but it will pay dividends in the end. My 11yr old loves brussel sprouts and my 8yr old thinks carrots and celery with lite ranch is a perfect snack.
I agree with letting children help. Serving food "family style" and allowing children to spoon it on to their plate is a big help. I use little plastic measuring cups to facilitate that and control portioning for the bigger kids. That might be a little more plausible at this age. Trust me, I know that grocery shopping with little ones is, at best, a "hurry up and lets get the heck out of here" experience! ;)
I often grate and sautee zucchini in my ground beef or turkey. You can do the same with carrots, celery, and peppers and spinach. I tell them if they ask, what's in the dish. But at 5 and 2.5, they may not ask. Make sure you reply with a smile and excitement..."It's zuchinni! Yummm!!"
It's just going to take time...and if you have to melt a bit of cheese on it to get them to eat it, no worries!
03-25-2010, 03:37 PM
Keep trying!! I have a 2.5 year old son who is the PICKIEST eater ever (he got that from his daddy) :) The only way I could get him to eat anything is I got him involved with the shopping and cooking process. I take him with me to the farmer's market in the town north of us and let him pick a new fruit and veggie for the week. Then, after he has made his decision, I get online and see what I can make with what he has choosen, I always try to find recipes with pictures, so he can pick one out after I've narrowed down the search. Then, when it's time to cook, I let him help. This way he thinks he has cooked his own meal and let me tell you, it makes a world of difference. Just keep trying, and try getting the kiddos involved, it may just help. Hope this helps a little bit. Good luck!!
03-25-2010, 03:54 PM
I have a four year old who is not picky and never has been. She will eat anything, or at least try it. Asparagus, artichokes, weird looking fruit, strange unfamiliar sauces, sushi, she's just very adventurous about food.
I totally agree with getting your children involved. We've done containers with tomatoes, bell peppers, banana peppers, mint, basil, strawberries (aka the easy stuff) for the past few years - cheap and easy - and she will eat them all right off the plant. I let her choose and weigh vegetables at the store. Anything that can be eaten with her hands or dipped into something, she's all over it. Peas or edamame (the only way I'll let her have soy) in the pod? DONE. I let her dip in things like hummus, or yogurt (I still buy YoBaby as it's the least fake stuff she'll eat) for fruit.
So yesterday we had steel oats with cut stawberries and 2 out of 3 didn't eat it. This morning I made egg whites with cut tomatoes and yellow pepper with cheese and 2 out of 3 didn't eat that either.
I don't know what your kids normally eat, but egg whites are pretty bland. Did you cook the tomatoes and yellow peppers first? Was it an omlette? I think you have to be realistic and make changes slowly or at least meet them where they are and add a few new things here and there. Or make better versions of the stuff they're used to so things are a bit familiar.
My daughter has tried steel cut oats and isn't a fan - she will eat it with maybe a bit of peanut butter or yogurt or fruit mixed in, but I think the texture puts her off. She does like oatmeal. The first few times I let her "help" (pick which fruit goes on, I cut it, she drops in the pot) and she loves anything she "cooks." Now she knows she likes it so she doesn't always help (I've also let her help me make baked oatmeal and she likes that. It's more cakey in texture so it's like a treat and you can make a lot and just reheat all week) but she still eats.
She also likes eggs in the basket - cut a hole in a piece of whole wheat bread (use a small cup, kids can make the hole), heat some butter in a skillet (doesn't take a lot), put the bread and circle in the skillet and break the egg in the hole. I leave the center just runny enough to dip and she loves it. Soft boiled eggs in egg cups with whole wheat to dip, also a big hit. Poached eggs are popular. She likes whole wheat or oatmeal pancakes. You can cook a little cut fruit with a little sugar or honey instead of syrup. Make a lot at one time, put them in the freezer, heat them up through the week.
For lunch, we do a big pot of vegetable soup (again, she can help put stuff in or tell me which are her favorites so she's invested) and reheat all week. Sometimes we do sandwiches. If she didn't have eggs for breakfast, she might have a boiled egg with lunch. If she had bread with breakfast, I'll probably just give her lean meat and some cheese without bread. I got some really cute plates with compartments and she helps me pick what goes in them. I might give her a boiled egg, a few grapes, some cherry tomatoes, a piece of cheese, and like 12 cheddar bunnies (she loves them and if I took them away altogether, she would really miss them) or half a PB and honey sandwich, an apple, etc.
She can eat what's there or not. I don't encourage or discourage or "one more bite." Some days she eats it all, some days she eats the grapes and the bunnies and that's it. If she asks for food within the next hour, I refer her to her lunch. After that we have whatever I planned for snack (yogurt or fruit, usually. SOMETIMES she gets an all natural granola bar or fruit leather type thing because she likes those, those are her junk, and everyone has a junky thing they love).
If I ate like I feed my daughter, I'd be one healthy mama!
I just keep looking for ideas. I try to be realistic about what she actually LIKES and introduce new things at dinner, when we all eat together.
03-27-2010, 03:00 AM
NiteNicole, your daughter sounds like a very healthy eater. :)
I wish my brother were only so adventurous when it came to food. He's 10 years old, and his diet is atrocious. He won't touch any vegetable (and my parents never MAKE him, either. My mother will sometimes ask him to try something, and he'll refuse, and it's the end of the "discussion).
He really likes fruit, but would still take potato chips or candy over it. He will only eat what my mother cooks for dinner if it is pizza, hamburgers, chili (very meaty, practically no vegetables except for beans and the tomatoes that make up the stock), frozen chicken strips, deep fried fish, fried chicken, barbecued chicken, and other things like that. If she makes anything even remotely healthy he will microwave one of his "snack dinners" instead. These range from pizza pockets, corn dogs, frozen chicken strips or patties for sandwiches and things like that. My parents are so used to him fixing his own "dinners" that they don't even try to get him to eat any vegetable, because they know he would just become annoyed and mad (yes, his temper and patience is incredibly bad for a 10 year old. I have actually mentioned to my mother that he sometimes acts like someone who's going through puberty).
Being unhealthy for the majority of my life (and being constantly picked on when I was in school) has me horrified that my brother is going to cause himself a lot of problems because of his diet. I have mentioned this a lot to my mother and even my brother, but my mother is at a loss and my brother gets irritable every time I even talk to him about it.
03-28-2010, 09:23 AM
My daughter likes junky things like corndogs and fried fish too (thanks, Nana), that's why I can't keep it in the house. I refuse to fight with her about food. If it's not here, WE can't eat it. Of course she's four and doesn't have ten years of making her own micro foods behind her. I would imagine that's a harder habit to break. I've read some really great books on kids and food/weight lately and one thing they all have in common is - parents decide what and when, kids decide if and how much. Everyone sits down together and has the same things to choose from, pick what you like and leave the rest. No "one more bite" or "just try it" arguments.
Sometimes, my daughter won't like what we have for dinner. She sits through dinner with us and if she really just does not like what we have (she will try anything and likes trying new things) her alternatives are usually a repeat of lunch - half a sandwich on whole wheat, fruit, cheese, etc. I don't punish or with hold dessert (which we don't always have) or anything, but if she thought she could have pizza or corn dogs every time she didn't like what we have, I doubt she'd ever even try what the rest of us are eating.
If only I could be as logical with MYSELF as I am with her, but I came from "the clean plate club" and got lots of mixed signals about food, body image, and love growing up. I'm trying REALLY HARD not to pass that on.
03-28-2010, 11:50 AM
I agree with mortonpixie ... keep trying it. Eventually, they will see everyone else at the table eating it and enjoying it, and they'll try it again. Also, their taste buds change. They may not like green beans one day, but two or three months later they might. If they say "but I don't like green beans", remind them that they've grown since the last time they've had them, and their taste buds have probably changed.
We continually had delicious vegetables on the table that everyone ate and liked. We've always had a rule that you have to take three bites of the undesirable dish before you could have seconds of the preferred dish, or before you had dessert. I came from a family of vegetable farmers and gardeners, so we definitely had an abundance of veggies on hand most times of the year. We were also reminded of all the good effects of eating vegetables ("carrots help your eyes", "leafy greens keep cancer away", "apples are nature's toothbrush", etc). I raised my son this same way, and he's a pretty healthy adult eater.
I wonder if they had these issues during the great depression.
03-29-2010, 03:35 AM
I know what you mean about the "clean plate club". When I was my brother's age I was forced to eat (if not everything) the majority of my food... even foods I despised. Thus my 'pickiness' subsided and I became fat. lol. I've mentioned not buying his favorite junk foods, but my mother acts as if it's unfair to him. Honestly, he'd probably go hungry before he tried any healthy foods.
05-11-2010, 12:00 PM
These are really good tips. I'm new to the whole foods way of eating and about to fight this battle with my 8 year old son. We have always had the one bite rule but it sounds like I need to up that to three. We have tried veggies a few different times and I did finally get him to eat zucchini that way.