Getting kids to eat takes creativity, patience and, sometimes, a bit of luck. 52 Moms Talk Food is my exploration of how inspiring moms make it happen.
A working mom of two, Becky lives with her husband, two children (8 and 4) and two cats in Atlanta. Both kids are pretty good eaters. I asked her how she manages it all… two kids, a finance career and finding balance. Here are her tips for making it happen.
Q: What is your meal philosophy?
Becky: I make one meal for everybody, and I try to make it healthy. The kids know: You eat this or you don’t eat. Most of all, I try not to get too stressed out. I always include a vegetable, but some days the vegetables are just onions and tomatoes.
Q: What is your secret weapon at dinner time?
Becky: Consistency is key. Sticking with the rules helps the kids know what’s expected. The kids know they have to try everything on the table. There are no substitutions, but they can add a little ketchup IF they first try the food as it is prepared. My youngest will eat a plate of broccoli, if he can have it with a little ketchup.
Q: Favorite tips for getting dinner on the table and getting kids to eat it?
Becky: Here are some my favorite tips:
- Teach the kids about food, particularly seasonable produce. The kids know if it’s winter, we won’t be buying strawberries.
- Plan ahead. Scheduling out the week’s meals and one weekly shopping trip is a must for me. Store apps let me keep my most-purchased items in a shopping list.
- Stay flexible. If the meal I had planned doesn’t work out one night and we have to order pizza, I let it slide. Sometimes to keep the sanity, you have to let go.
Q: How do you find balance?
Becky: I set my alarm so I get up before the kids. The family knows that’s my “me” time when I sit with a cup of coffee and read a magazine. And, I set the timer for 20 minutes to work on projects that I have to tackle and then move on.
MY TAKE-AWAY: Becky practices some great feeding techniques. Consistency and planning are two keys to getting a nourishing dinner on the table. While some experts may argue against using ketchup as a motivator, Becky has found a way to entice her kids to eat vegetables. Yes, ketchup contains sugar, but I believe a little sugar in an occasional dollop of ketchup is a small trade-off for a boatload of important vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants found in veggies. Perhaps most importantly, Becky approaches meal times with flexibility and low stress so that her kids associate mealtimes with a calm and pleasing environment.
MOMS (AND DADS) WELCOME: Do you have a story to share? If you’d like to be profiled in 52 Moms Talk Food, drop me line at firstname.lastname@example.org.