Eveyone has challenges in life. For my daughter it is eating. For me, it is cooking! So here are some tested tips that WORK for both of us!
1) Create a weekly eating menu. Mondays is spaghetti, Tuesdays is burgers, and so on and so forth. The plates are made and served at the table. This takes all the thinking and guesswork out of it, and hopefully the frantic ‘help its 5 PM what shall I make for dinner!’ So I will look at her weekly schedule and Tuesday says Burgers and take them out of the freezer or start cooking, without having to wonder… Naturally I shop accordingly with this menu in mind. I know you agree this helps. Then, hand in hand with this TIP – if your child isn’t interested in your lunch/dinner, there is ONE alternative that they can choose… Yogurt. Cereal. The alternative has to be something that does not require preparation.
2) Each night on their plate will be a veggie… cooked or raw. Like cucumbers, avocado, peppers, lettuce, brocolli, etc. It is a worthwhile investment even if you think they will NEVER eat them. This creates an expectation for them to include vegetables in their life, that it is part of a complete meal, and one time, when you are not looking, they may try them, and start eating them. My son eats almost all of them now! I know my Mom says that she didn’t give them us since we never ate them, and it took me years to start eating these most basic of foods. I am trying to not repeat this problem. It is not easy. Often times I don’t have them available in the house and I am too lazy.. but its part of my plan so it’s a start.
3) Mealtime needs to include YOU. Here are some extra fun ways to make mealtimes enjoyable:
a) We buy plates that are shaped like animal faces. We put food in each ear, and the main dish in the middle. Sometimes they fight over the plates, but in the long run, it is worth it.. since they are definitely more interested in eating.
b) Stick a magnetic whiteboard on your refrigerator and draw a picture of the plates including the food on the plates. Each bite that is eaten allows either you or the child to erase the food on the plate, until the entire contents of the plate are erased. This definitely encourages extra bites.
c) My stick figures leave much to be desired, yet when I offer to draw a picture of practically anything they are so excited! The deal is that for each bite, I will draw a little more.. I try to have the picture ALMOST finished when they hit their usual limit, so just a few extra bites will have the complete illustration!
What works for you?