Winning the Mealtime Battle

Cooking for kids and toddlers is usually not very difficult.

Typically they will enjoy the simple things, and often you can find things they love in healthy items such as peanut butter. A toddler or even an older child is going to be impressed with things that can be held in their fingers or which are easy to eat.
Young kids and toddlers are rapid movers and will usually enjoy finger foods, as well as foods that are tasty, such as macaroni and cheese. These will be usually be mainstays in most households. We did say usually. Once in a while you’re going to find a child that does not like or is unable to eat some of the normal mainstays for kids.
Hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese are all wonderful, but for the kid who refuses to eat them, along with other things, mealtime may become a battleground. In those cases, you have to pick your battles wisely, or sidestep them neatly.

 Find foods that your child does like and can eat.

Take those meals and spin them a bit and as you do, have your child help to prepare the meal. There are some foods your child simply won’t like, but they may also be simply acting out on a new-found need to be independent. You will find that children who may not “like” something, will find it far more palatable if they’ve done the preparation, or at least part of it, themselves.
Giving them the opportunity to select foods that you will prepare as well as to assist in the cooking of them is also a great time to talk about what they don’t like and why. Mealtime should not be a battleground. In the younger child or toddler you’re likely going to have to give some ground. This does not mean that they get candy for dinner. Substitute things like raw celery for peas, add some dip to the celery and give them something to crunch.
Older children can work with you and be taught to read labels, to find nutritional substitutes for things they don’t like or can’t eat. Making meal times a shared duty where everyone pitches in very often impresses your kids enough that they will eat something they may not have eaten before now.

Make it fun and relax.

Making meal time a fun together time will often relax your kids, and preclude the need to do battle over eating something they are certain they don’t like. Usually they will at least try it. The rule at our house was always , you must try one bite. That wasn’t a great deal to ask. If you honestly don’t like it, then we’ll find something to substitute for it that is equal nutritional and caloric value. This helps everyone to get the nutrition they need and keep the mealtime peace.

Joyce Brister is a loving parent and blogger for the My Baby Blog.  Joyce loves writing about situations that parents are often faced with.  She would like for you to take a look at her JoJo Designs Bedding at My Baby Bedding Shop.

Karla Urwitz
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