MoneyMindedMoms: The Solution to Picky Eaters

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The Solution to Picky Eaters
Jan 08 2011 08:00 PM | Vicky Collins  in Feeding Your Family -----
In an effort to be healthy and economical, I cook most nights of the week. Unfortunately, in my house, I have a few picky eaters. Especially my two youngest who have the appetites of birds, and zero culinary curiosity.

I read once if a child is hungry enough, they will eat anything in front of them. Ok, great plan.

So, I've made sure they were super hungry before I put dinner in front of them.

I told them if they didn’t eat what was there, I was not making a second meal, nor was I going to give them cereal or crackers later on.

Both have called my bluff many times. They refused to eat and they didn’t even bother asking for something else.

Oh well, plan A failed miserably.

I was determined to figure out a way to have them eat healthy, so I came up with Plan B: a weekly chart with meals.

Once a week, we are going to sit down and each kid gets to pick a dinner for one night. The guidelines are that they must include a vegetable and most importantly, that night they are in charge of helping me make the dinner.
I’m convinced that food tastes better if you’ve actually spent your own time making it.

Another guideline will be that everyone has to try the meal. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have claimed they don’t like something when they’ve never even tried it. Not always, but more often than not, they will like it IF they try it.

Feeding your family is not always easy. I’ve learned in motherhood you have to pick your battles.

I am hoping by being a little flexible and creative dinnertime will be one last battle to fight around here.

Vicky Collins is a Jersey Girl who relocated to Austin, TX. She has been married to Shawn since May 1996, and they have four children (Caity, Lexie, Kerri, and Jack) and a shelter dog (Mattingly). Through a recipe of discipline and various financial strategies, she has not carried credit card debt since the mid-90's. Vicky preaches to her friends and occasional strangers that it’s imperative for women to understand and be involved in family money matters, and blogs about it at Follow Ask the Mama on Twitter and Facebook.


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Tricia Meyer 

25 January 2011 - 07:36 AM
We do something similar in terms of involving the picky eater. I find that when she helps me make the meal and I make a big deal out of what a great helper she was and everything she did by herself, she is more likely to give it a true chance.

We also have a "three bites" rule. Each person must eat at least 3 bites of everything to decide whether or not they really like it. 9 times out of 10, the kids realize that it's actually pretty good and I am not trying to poison them!

Kim Rowley 

25 January 2011 - 09:47 PM
My kids are a tad older than yours Vicky, so our rule is if they don't want to eat what I make, then they can make their own food. And if it's something new, they still have to take at least one bite of it. I'm a picky eater as well, so I can't make them eat the whole thing if they don't like it. :-)


30 January 2011 - 09:45 AM
I've got elementary age kids. Here's the house rule: Eat what the kitchen is serving or be hungry. No snacks before or after dinner. If you don't eat dinner, no desert. If you drag out the time at the table (as in the rest of the family finishd eating 20 mins ago and you're still at the table), then it is off to bed early. Being part of this family is eating as part of this family. Kids absolutely can help determine the family meal choices (it's smart to put things on the table that they will tend to like). But Mom & Dad have final say on meals. The kids did try and call our bluff a few times and we stuck to our guns (both parents must agree and stick together). It was hard to think of our "babies" being hungry, but they got the message and now get the fact that you eat what the kitchen is serving or you don't eat. My wife and I are not short-order cooks. This approach drained the drama out of dinner. Sending your kids to bed hungry once or twice is worth the lesson that you thankfully eat what is being offered.
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