I want to go on strike. To quit making dinner. Can we just go to Chick-fil-A? This is not the dietitian talking. This is the mom, who is tired to fighting to feed every single bite of healthy food into my children's mouths.
Maybe it's because I'm tired, but dinner can be a fight time with kids. I attribute this to busy sports and school events this month, but since I wrote this post originally 5 years ago, I realize not much has changed.
There are stages where it is explainable, commonly known in the nutrition world as "food jags", when kids get stuck on certain preferred food items-- but what about all the other times?
A RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist) named Jill Castle, wrote a great series on feeding toddlers, as well as wonderful resource for raising healthy eaters through childhood. In her article, "Your Toddler's Development: What to Expect and How It Affects Nutrition" she says,
Toddler eating can worry parents. Understanding how the toddler develops, both physically and cognitively (fancy word for brain development), can help you get a grip on why your toddler behaves the way he does, especially around food and eating.
This isn't just for toddlers but for all kids. My role is simple: make and offer healthy food choices and model good eating behaviors.
Not to nag.
Not to force foods.
Not to force amounts I'd like them to eat.
But to offer it, model and encourage.
In agreement with Castle's guidelines, we have never had many "rules" for eating at the table, but we do have structure and standards for manners like: sitting still and not getting up from the table until you are finished with your meals, saying "please" and "thank you for dinner", not complaining about the meal, and trying at least one bite of a food that is "not your favorite".
It works for the most part.
To ease my own annoyance, I started by writing a list of kid-friendly favorite meals. Here's a snapshot of what I came up with for fast, delicious and healthy meals: For the full list, you can find it on my Pinterest page here.
Creating your own cheat sheet for busy season is key for surviving not only irrational attitudes about foods but out-of-control schedules. If you need more help with mastering your meal plan, check out my saved stories on Instagram here.