Being a mom is both amazing and tough as hell. Juggling it all, finding time for yourself, your kids, your husband on top of working, cleaning, laundry, and cooking is hard, and some days are just better then others. Before I had kids, I remember thinking that I would not have a picky eater, that our meal times would be quiet and be spent talking about our day…are you laughing yet? Yes, one of my boys is a picky eater, and neither of them can sit on their chair for more then 10 seconds. DRIVES ME INSANE!!
Over the years I have however learned a few things as far as nutrition when it comes to our family and our boys. Here are some of the top ones I wanted to share with you….
1. Let them help – I try to let our boys help me in the kitchen as much as possible. It gets them engaged, excited and invested in the food they eat. I have found that it helps my picky eater try something new and that they are that much more focused on eating once they sit up at the table. The next hurdle for us will be to have them start chopping and cutting up the food for meals as well, which will bring even more engagement. Start them small with simple tasks like mixing or dropping ingredients into the bowl, its fun and it is a simple way to teach them about food and what goes into preparing meal.
2. Family Meals – As much as possible we try to have dinner at the table, as a family, with no distractions. I remember doing this as a kid at my house, at relatives houses, and well everywhere. Never was the TV or electronic device on during dinner, and instead we had conversations about our day and what lied ahead for the week. Now, for us there are days when the TV is on at dinner and it is usual when I am scrambling to get things ready for soccer or some other activity and I wasn’t them to sit still and eat for 5 minutes. However, we do try and keep this to a minimum and eat as a family with little distraction. I believe this helps to keep the focus on the time with the family and less about the food. Try to keep it as positive as possible, which I know can be tough when you have picky eaters.
3. Double or triple the recipe – Doing this can save me so much time in the kitchen. Making extra food that you are able to keep in your fridge for a couple of days, or freezer for months is a glorious time saver that is so worth the initial effort of cooking a big batch. When you are running to appointments, working late, or going to kids activities, being able to thaw and/or heat up supper quickly takes away stress and allows you to pre plan your meals. This is something I try to do often.
4. It’s ok to have cereal – On the days that you are running late for dinner, the kids are “starving”, and you have nothing thawed or prepped can be very stressful. I used to find myself giving them snacks while I try to prepare a healthy meal. It took me awhile before I realized…its ok to give them cereal, or chicken fingers and fries. You know they will eat it, and you know they will be ok. You don’t always have to prepare a well balanced, healthy meal….because lets face it, some days you don’t have the time, or you just don’t want too. Cut yourself some slack, you do amazing things for your kids everyday and giving them a bowl of cereal, or fries for dinner is sometimes what works.
Until next time….