Is lunch time a hassle some days? Trying to sell your child on why they should eat this or taste that? It sure is here some days! Drives me nuts, but here are a few simple, practical, and easy ideas to help with picky eaters.
- Serve one item you know they will eat without complaint. For us that is fruit, rice/quinoa, or a bread.Once they finish this then bargain-“If you want more (item they love) then you have to try this (item they are avoiding).” “Could you please try (item they are avoiding) then I can give you more of (item they love).”
- Don’t allow them to snack all day-because they won’t be hungry for meal times. Try to communicate that food is a nourishment to our bodies to keep our bodies strong and healthy. Have set times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We have two snack times morning and afternoon, set something up that works for your families schedule.
- Don’t go overly crazy strict diet on them. I am a fairly healthy eater and cook, except on Fridays, and holidays, then its all free game! Fridays they are allowed to have Hot Cheetos for snack (they LOVE them!), pizza, popcorn, 1 soda, and sometimes candy.
Now for some ideas!
My little ones LOVE fruit! So that’s what I focus on! Meat not so much, and I’m okay with that they don’t have to have it at every meal because we can sub in another protein like, yogurt, cheese, beans, or nut butters. They love sausage, so knowing that I try to balance breakfast and lunch.
Tip: Try mini food items that are perfect for little hands, they are always loved in our house.
Frozen yogurt, cheese, and beans are staples in our lunches for a few reasons they are easy, quick, and eaten. We also love these Annie’s cheddar bunnies!
Tip: For fruits and veggies try cutting them in kid friendly shapes and sizes. For the girls (3yrs and 4yrs) I do cucumber pinwheels. and small pieces of fruits and melons. For Ezra (1 yr) I do sticks of melon, apples, and whole strawberries with tiny squares of banana.
Of course Nutella is also a staple in our lunches, too. Get creative with leftovers from breakfast and the night before. Like leftover waffles with Nutella and strawberries. Beans from the night before made into a burritos or tacos.
Tip: I love these plates because the kids love them! They are also great for portion control, plus they were less than a $1 on clearance at Target every time a new season rolls around they clearance the old stock!
Here is a handy list of great foods for kids:
- Soft shreds/slices of Chicken
- Ground Beef
- Cream Cheese
- String cheese
- Yogurt sticks
- Corn Bread
- Breads (Banana, Zucchini, and Apple)
- Mandarin cups in juice
- Green Beans
- Sugar Snap
- Squash (zucchini, butternut, and yellow)
This graphic always helps me remember what a great source of protein veggies are!
Important Tips for Transitioning Babies to Table Foods
- Start increasing the thickness of their baby foods. Then move on to puffs made for babies. Once they have mastered the puffs you can move onto foods like bananas, avocados, noodles, and soft breads.
- It is important to note all babies are different and develop at their own rate. Some have top and bottom teeth by the time they are 6 months some, like mine, at a year, are barely getting top teeth.
- Make sure everything you give your baby for the first time is closely monitored. Most foods Ezra was able to handle with his two bottom teeth, but it was a lot easier for him when the top two came in.
- Stay calm if your baby coughs,chokes, or gags it will happen. If you freak out they will freak out. If they are coughing, choking, or gagging on a food frequently, stop giving it to them and re-introduce at a later date. Don’t give up or they will. Ezra does this ALL THE TIME!
- Cut food into small pieces so they can chew it easily. Cut beans in half and make sure meats are soft and moist. It may help to precook carrots, broccoli, and sugar snap peas. Help your baby with foods that are difficult to pick up, don’t make the pieces bigger until you are sure they can manage them. Ezra does really well with stick of foods and he nibbles on them.