Hey, hey! Today have a few tricks to help get your kids interested in real food. Because feeding kids is hard. As a mom of five who homeschools (read = is with her kids for every. single. meal.), I know this so very well. By the time dinner rolls around all you want to do is shove a box of chicken nuggets at them and go scream into a pillow. Am I right? And sometimes I do exactly that. (Because I'm human, yo.)
But usually my kids eat what we make - including vegetables, curries, soups, stews, whatever the case may be. I won't lie and tell you dinner is always peaceful and they love everything we put in front of them, because that would be a lie, and I'm not a lying liar. But generally it's good. They know what's expected and they've developed tastes for a wide variety of foods. And it didn't happen by accident. Because I'll say it again - feeding kids is hard.
How to Get Your Kids Interested in Real Food!
1. Grow Your Food.
No, I'm not saying you need to go off-grid and become homesteaders. We have a small garden on the side of our shed where we grow peppers, tomatoes, okra, and eggplant. It's not an especially pretty garden, and it doesn't produce much, but what it does do is get my kids interested in different foods. When they see it growing and developing because they put a seed in the ground, and they watered it, and they took great care - then they're more likely to at least try it. Even if all you've got is a windowsill, go ahead and get some herbs going. We started with basil, and two years later, my 8 year old still brags that I used HIS basil in my tomato sauce.
2. Make the Kids Shop.
I know, I know... taking children to the market is pretty much the worst thing in the history of EVER. I hear you. But, when I give my kids a shopping list (written for the older kids and verbal for the little ones), food becomes exciting. They ask questions about what we're buying and why we're buying it, and subsequently they're much more amenable to what I fix with the food they bought.
3. Have Them Help Cook.
Okay, so "help" may not be the right way to put it. We all know kids in the kitchen is a hot mess. But, let them think they're helping. Measuring, stirring, and pouring, are important tasks! Call them your sous chefs! Let them use a knife! (Butter knife for the under 5 crowd, please). Chances are, when all is said and done, they're going to want to taste what they made!
4. Don't Bad Mouth Food.
The quickest way to turn a kid off something is to let them hear you call it gross. I don't care how disgusting you think peas are -- do not tell your kids. I repeat, DO NOT TELL YOUR KIDS! If there's something you just can't stomach, then don't serve it. Or stealthily avoid eating it. But don't turn them off a food just because it's not your thing.
5. Let Them Eat Off Your Plate.
You know how when you go to a restaurant and you see an awesome meal at another table, and you wish you could just have a little taste? That's what your plate looks like to the kids. Even if it's the same. damn. food. (Seriously.) So rather than getting annoyed that they're invading your every bit of everything and ermahgerd, the grubby fingers are EVERYWHERE. Take a deep breath. Sip your wine. And be glad they're interested in food that didn't come with a toy.