Hey guys! Let’s talk about picky eaters. I’ve been meaning to get this post together for a long time. I get so many questions and DM’s whenever I post an Instagram Story or picture of what the girls are eating or how I get them to eat such a variety of food. The truth is, I’m not a doctor or therapist or think for one second I have it all figured out. But today I wanted to share with you what the girls eat and the tips I’ve learned to raise not so picky eaters.
TIp #1 – They eat what you eat
When Edith was born I was super neurotic at first about making sure she only ate organic, homemade meals starting at 6 months. As she got older, we stopped doing purees and just started offering her tiny bites from my plate. And moving forward, that’s how we have always done it. My girls eat exactly what I eat. I have never made special food for the kids except when Aaron and I have date night and they get Annie’s Mac & Cheese (which I’ll add, is their favorite night of the week).
tip #2 – keep offering
My kids definitely don’t eat everything. Edith has plenty of things she doesn’t want to eat, Salmon is the biggest one. . Lilah doesn’t like chocolate (ok this is a bad example but it’s honestly the only thing she won’t eat!). That doesn’t mean I stop cooking Salmon. I cook Salmon once a week and I swear Edith didn’t eat Salmon for 6 months until one day she was hungry enough and she ate it. She still gives me a little bit of a hard time but now she will eat 4 or 5 bites instead of none.
Tip #3 – Eat together
When we first moved to New York, Aaron was working pretty late. And because Lilah was going to bed at 6pm when she was a baby it was just the three of us at dinner time. For awhile, I was giving the girls their dinner and using that time to wash the dishes, clean the house, and finish up any chores and I noticed that they wouldn’t eat as well as they normally did. Now, we all sit together (whether its the 3 or 4 of us). I ask them about their day, what their favorite thing on their plate is, what they’re looking forward to tomorrow, or if they did something nice for someone today. It helps us stay at the table longer and I know that them watching me eat what they are eating helps. After all, I can’t tell them to eat their broccoli if I don’t eat it too.
Tip #4 – make it fun
I mentioned this tip before on my Instagram, but meal time should be fun. I do my best to make it so. Sometimes we have an all green dinner. I’ll make pesto pasta, peas, avocado, green grapes, and broccoli, or green eggs! Or I’ll cut their cheese or fruit into fun shapes using little tools like this. I don’t go crazy with bento designs because I don’t have time for that. But little things can go a long way. One of their favorite dinners is just a charcuterie plate because they think picking things off a tray to put on their own plate is fun.
tip #5 – put at least one favorite on the plate
My kids are a lot more likely to try the other things on their plate if there is at least one thing they will always eat on there. That way, I’m not handing them a plate full of things that they think are unappetizing. I wouldn’t want that if I was going to a friend’s for dinner or hosting adults. So give them less to complain about while still being in control and offering them what you want.
tip #6 – the golden rule
I don’t have any rules about their eating except one, you have to try everything on your plate. I don’t make them eat their plate clean or have a certain number of bites or eat if they aren’t hungry. But I expect to see them take a decent sized bite of every item on their plate. You can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it and you can’t get up from the table until that’s done. There are nights when they eat only those 5 bites. And other nights they clear their plates.
tip # 7 – offer fruit last
I won’t put fruit on their plate until they’ve followed the “Golden Rule”. My kids could eat their weight in fruit at every meal. They go through $5 baskets of raspberries like it’s going out of style. I don’t want to ruin their appetite with fruit so we save it for last. It also replaces any dessert. I’m a huge sweets fan and we have our fair share of treats throughout the week, but 9 times out of 10 we just have fruit for dessert.
So there you have it! Those are the basic tips that I’ve followed from the beginning to avoid picky eaters. There are a million other ideas out there and I’d be happy to hear any tips you have or answer any questions you guys might have! I’m thinking of putting together a “Week of Dinners” post so you guys can actually see what I cooked and how much of it the girls actually ate (see a previous “week of meals” post here). So if you that’s something you want to see tell me in the comments below!
Photos by Heather Moore.