Feed Me, Seymour

It’s a war that never ends, the battle that forges on – getting your kids to eat everything on their plate.

If you have a kid that eats everything on their plate, every time, good for you! (just know that most of our readers here now hate you… hehehe).

From day one of solid foods, my wife and I have always fed our kids the same things we’re eating. We may change it up a LITTLE (i.e. putting the taco seasoning on the beef after taking out the kids’ portion), but for the most part, they eat what we eat.

It’s not always a success, but we refuse to raise kids who will only eat peanut butter or mac and cheese.

The trap I get caught in a lot is the master negotiation. H is fantastic at this and he gets me every time. “What if I eat just 3 of my broccoli and then I can have more hot dog?” “Ok, son, if you eat this small pile of beans over here, you can have more pasta…” it’s tiring, tiresome and really not all that positive of a conversation. Not only that – I tend to lose the negotiations a lot. I’m taking H with me the next time I have to buy a new car.

So, how does the Modern Man get his kids to eat when they just aren’t into it? Here are some of my tips and ‘tricks’ I use.

THE AIRPLANE

It’s a tried and true Dad tool. “Here comes the airplane, open the hangar.” They even sell spoons that look like an airplane. I’m not sure WHY it works, but that hangar door swings open as soon as the plane approaches.

Success Rate: 7 out of 10

THE SEAGULL

I got this one from my brother and sister-in-law. The kid is the seagull and you’re just hoping (out loud) that the pesky seagull won’t steal the food that’s on the plate…

Success Rate: 8 out of 10

THAT’S A WRAP

Eggs and bacon. They push it around their plate. BUT, if I put the eggs, meat and veggie (they love fresh tomato) into a wrap, they gobble it up. Works for sandwiches at lunch or even chicken and veggies (yeah, we call it a burrito) for dinner.

Success Rate: 9.5 out of 10

MAKE IT A COMBO MEAL

When the food is separated on the plate into different piles – where do the kids go first? Potato? Yeah – that goes first. Then the meat/protein. Those veggies are left last to hang there. What to do? Combo it! The skill and ‘gamesmanship’ of getting a piece of potato, pork and lima bean on a fork at the same time makes dinner a challenge – and the reward is the food getting eaten!

Success Rate: 8 out of 10

MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO

The other night we were eating pasta with a sour cream based meat gravy on it. The pasta is on the plate with the gravy “on the side”. “On the side” is very big for H. Of course, a great pile of gray mush isn’t very appetizing. I show how the gravy is on top of my noodles and make more “yummy” noises than you’ve ever heard. I didn’t direct them at the kids, I just lost myself in my own world of how yummy this food was. I even had to get back up and put a little more sour cream (a kid favorite) on the top. As I was walking to the kitchen to get the sour cream, H wanted to know what all the yummy fuss was about – after that, he needed a second helping of pasta and gravy too —- gravy on top please Daddy.

Success Rate: 7 out of 10

TAKE A DIP

Got veggies? Got meat? Give them a dip. Ranch dressing, Ketchup, Mayo or anything in between. The action of dipping their food makes it more of a mission and they know to get more dip, they need to eat more food. Win – win.

Success Rate: 9 out of 10

One other tip for you about getting your kids to eat – TEACH THEM!

We live on a farm – most of the food comes from the gardens and pastures right outside our door. Of course, I know not everyone has that ability, but it’s an added connection to their food for our kids. They help us plant, care for and harvest their own food.

If you don’t live on a farm, take them to one to visit. Let your kids know where the food comes from before it hits the shelves at the grocery store. If the kids are connected to the story of their food, it will mean more to them at the time of consumption.

Check your local area for a farm share or CSA program or Farm CAMP for the kids. Every week you get to bring the kids to where their food is being grown and experience more than just the muzak playing through the aisles of the big chain grocery.

What do you guys do to help the kids get into eating their food? Let us know in the comments below!

-KP

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