As a mother of a 2 and 4 year old it is a constant battle to make sure my children are eating a balanced diet. When it comes to vegetables, that battle is far from won.
My children are very much routine kids. They like to know where we’re going, when we’re going, for how long and who else will be there. When it comes to dinner it’s pretty much the same. When is dinner? What’s for dinner? What’s for dessert?
We are almost at the start of month three of the My Delicious Year challenge. During the past two months I have abandoned all the tried and tested family favourites in lieu of cooking my way through the more than ten years of delicious. Magazines I have been collecting. This means the kids have been served something different for dinner every night for the past sixty days. For kids who love predictabilty, this has been a challenge. So of course there have been some highs and some lows. But I am regularly suprised by what they actually eat versus what I think they will eat.
Last nights dinner, Greek bean & silverbeet stew was a good example. It ticked all the boxes for a meal the kids probably wouldn’t eat. It had:
- green stuff (silverbeet and zucchini)
- cannelini beans / lentils
- everything was mixed together (my kids like things served separately which makes all the “yucky” stuff easily identifiable and avoidable)
Prepared for the usual
bribery negotiations required to get the kids to even try it, I was surprised to watch B2 tuck in with absolutely no fuss at all, and ask for more! What the?
B4 on the other hand commenced his usual “ew it has green stuff” meltdown. Fortunately, being the Easter long weekend, we had an abundant supply of chocolate bribery available.
But before we bring out the chocolate, we put in place the “mouthfuls” rule.
What is it? Well it became very clear to us that our children are far smarter than what they make out. So we have implemented a “mouthfuls” rule for B4. As he is four years old, he needs to eat four mouthfuls of what is served before he can leave the table. The rules are:
- you can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it
- you can say you don’t like it if you have tried it
- even if you don’t like it, you still have to have your “mouthfuls” to try it (one for each year of their life)
Sound mean? Well in my defence, this approach has really worked on B4 who in the past has been stubborn, emotional and fussy when it comes to trying new foods, particularly vegetables. He understands numbers and what four means and now he understands the “mouthfuls” rule. More often than not he eats his four mouthfuls before complaining that he doesn’t like what he’s eating. And then, on the odd occasion, he turns to me with a look of surprise on his face and says “mummy this is actually yummy”. Small victories…
Leave a comment to share what strategies you use to get your kids to eat their vegetables or to try new foods?