Winning Over Picky Eaters:
Ryan and Amanda have it all figured out when it comes to getting 4 year-0ld Megan and little sister Kate to eat. I loved reading how Amanda learned how to do it…
I went to a talk once by a dietitian about how to get kids to eat and not give your child an unhealthy outlook toward food (i.e. avoiding emotional attachments to food and avoiding eating disorders.)
Some pearls I took away from it:
Mealtimes should be ENJOYABLE for everyone and really focus on the conversation and togetherness, not keeping score of who is eating what.
Parents determine “when and what”, kids determine “whether and how much”. Parents decide what is for dinner and when mealtimes are, kids determine whether they will eat it.
Kids need to be exposed to a “new” food MANY times before trying it – with the speaker’s kids she doesn’t make her kids eat anything on their plate, but they DO have to allow a small amount to be on their plate. (“no thank you helping”, she calls it)
Try not to let yourself or your kids) get too hungry or too full – regular meals and healthy snacks helps with this, and encouraging kids to eat slowly can help your body realize when you’ve had too much.
Model healthy eating for your kids – show them what it’s like to eat balanced meals, let them see you eating healthy stuff (and for those uber healthy types, let them also see you having an occasional treat without beating yourself up about it)
Megan was already a good eater to begin with, but these are some of the things I try to think about with my family.
As Grandma of that little eater – I concur! Wish I had known these tricks when I had 9 at home!!
Here are a couple of delicious and healthy meals that even the picky palate will appreciate:
Unbelievable Chicken and Pasta
4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch strips
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 (8 ounce) package cold cream cheese, cubed
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
1.Bring large pot of water to a boil, and stir in penne pasta.
2.Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken cubes in broth; simmering until done, about 10 minutes. Stir in cubed cream cheese and spinach. Return to simmer, and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cherry tomatoes, and cook about 3 minutes more.
3.In a large bowl, mix together cooked, drained pasta and sauce. Let stand a few minutes before serving.
Cheesy Chicken Bagel Pizzas
2 (4 1/2-inch, 2 1/4-ounce) plain bagels, sliced in half
1/2 cup lower-sodium marinara sauce
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Place bagel halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until lightly toasted.
Spread 2 tablespoons marinara on cut side of each bagel half. Top each half with 1/4 cup chicken, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil bagel halves an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts.