Monday, April 4, 2011

What’s for Dinner?

What are your kids having for dinner?
After posting a recipe for Spinach Dip Chicken on Facebook last week, I got a few friends asking “Will your kids really eat that?”

And the answer is….
             Yes, My kids will really eat that.
Because that is what I made for Dinner.

So I took up the challenge of documenting our meals for all of last week.  Taking a picture every night of our kids’ plates before we sat down to eat.  

So, yes… My kids will eat this for Dinner.


Spinach Dip Chicken and Bowtie Pasta, Corn and Bread
They especially love this dish,
and I especially love that I am getting them to eat spinach!  


French Dip, Ranch Macaroni, and Salad
One of my Favs and a Big hit at our house.  Charlotte is currently my only Salad lover, but we’re working on Carson.


Helen LOVING her French Dip.
This is not just an adult Sandwhich!  Wait until Roast Beef is on sale
in the Deli, and plan a meal around it!


Ravioli and Italian Sausage, Broccoli
(with a little cheese to help it all go down)
And they’ll eat this too.
Helen Especially LOVES anything in the Pasta food group.
She is my one that is not a big meat eater.


Pork Tenderloin, Sugar Snap Peas, and Mashed Potatoes
They Love Pork Tenderloin… especially when Daddy calls it
“Pig nuggets”.  He really needs an intervention.
Carson is not the best Veggie eater… hence only 2 snap peas.


Chicken in Wine Sauce over Egg Noodles with Spinach Salad
(Fruit for the kids)
And they really love to eat anything off a “real” plate. 
I am in love with this dish and the chicken is SO tender. 


So how can you get your kids to eat real food?

  • Start early offering new and different foods, seasoning, and sauces

  • Stop making multiple meals for your kids.  Make one Dinner.   Let me encourage you again…. STOP making multiple dinners for your kids.  

  • Eat as a Family.   It is easy to make “kid meals” if Dad doesn’t get home until 8:00.  But as much as you can, try eating together as a family, or still making a “real” dinner for everyone, and saving him a plate.

  • Offer options at lunch, but NO option at dinner. I will make 3 different lunches (Chicken nuggets, PBJ, Turkey) But at Dinner, we eat what Mommy Made.  This helps kids to feel ownership at lunch and that they have a “say” or opinion.

  • Give small and reasonable portions of foods you know they don’t enjoy as much.

  • Bribe, Reward, Praise them for their eating of real foods.

  • Barter---no more milk until you eat 1 snap pea.  Once you finish you milk, you can have a little juice. 

  • Know your kids--- Know what they hate, and know what they love…use this to your advantage.
    • Carson is my picky one with Veggies, but he could eat a loaf of bread by himself.
    • Helen is very finicky about meats, and pretty particular about veggies but LOVES pasta and fruit.
    • Charlotte is pretty adventurous.  She is my meat lover and pasta/carb/side lover.  She loves seconds. 

  • Sauce it up!  While I am not a big fan of putting ketchup on everything, if ranch or cheese or (gasp!) even ketchup makes it “go down” better, then sauce it up. 

  • Have your kids cook with you.  Kids are going to be more interested in tasting something that they helped make with their own hands

  • Let them serve themselves. Something about them getting seconds themselves makes them feel very grown up

  • We don’t have a “clean your plate” rule. We understand that they may not eat what we offer.  But if we stop offering, they will never try it.  So we keep offering.  We ask them again to try. We barter, we bribe.  But at the end of the day, Helen wants more pasta, and leaves the meat.  Carson wants more meat and and leaves the veggie.  We encourage good eating, but don’t require clean plates.

What are you making for Dinner tonight??

Do you have any tips to help picky eaters, or to instill good eating habits in your kids?   What if you are already in over your head in Chicken Nuggets and don’t  know to stop? 
         Please share and ask questions!! 

CONFESSION (updated at 2:30)
We are having Hot Dogs and Macaroni & Cheese
tonight for dinner.

But…but…but… before you give up on me, and delete me from your blog reader… I am still following my rule of only cooking one meal.   AND…. they are angus beef hotdogs, and nice mac and cheese.   Meals don’t have to be elaborate…so for us, Hot dog night it is.