Many of our readers ask, “How do I get my kids to eat? They are so picky and I’ve run out of ideas…”
It’s in a kid’s nature to be picky. It’s funny that kids will frown upon anything new. Our children will eat the same thing almost every day and then one day say, “I don’t like sloppy Joe’s”. Our oldest son eats pizza but does not like sausage pizza. One day recently, he tried the sausage and loved it. He said that he loved the little meatballs. When Mike told him it was good to see him eat sausage, he suddenly wouldn’t eat it. Later, we decided it was better to let him call them meatballs if that’s what it took to get him to eat it! Let this be a lesson to you – If you give the kids zucchini bread, just tell them that it is “bread”!
Kids’ eating habits could send a family to the poor house! Between pop-tarts, fruit chews, juices boxes and containers of cool applesauce it would be easy to spend the entire month’s grocery budget in one week. Here are some tips to help you find something they will eat while hanging on to some of that cash in your pocket.
Are you being squeezed? - The USDA recommends two 8 oz. (1 cup) glasses of milk per day for a child. If you give your kids more than two cups a day, everything over the 2 cups is just calories, and expensive calories at that. The same is true of juice. The USDA recommends 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day for kids.
Did you know that for children under age five, 3/4 cup of juice is one serving of fruit? How often do you fill a glass to the top with juice for your child only to find that the child doesn’t drink most of it? Limit the amount of juice served to one or two small glasses a day and serve the rest of their fruit and vegetables in whole form. Whole fruits are more healthy for them than juice.
French Toast Sticks – After cooking french toast, cut each piece into 4 strips. Kids love to dip these in syrup.
Present oatmeal in a fancy glass such as a sundae dish. Place some homemade granola, fruit, honey, brown sugar or nuts on top.
Stir any of the following into oatmeal:
- cinnamon and sugar
- brown sugar
- butter or margarine
- maple syrup
- chopped apples
- dried apples
- chopped peaches
- jam or jelly
- plain or fruit yogurt
- wheat germ
- dark brown sugar and 1 drop of maple extract makes oatmeal taste just like the store bought instant oatmeal
Have a snack sitting at the kitchen table for the kids when they come home from school. This way they won’t be grouchy in the afternoon from being hungry. This will also prevent them from digging though the kitchen cabinets looking for something themselves and messing up your neat, well-organized pantry. It is also the perfect time for you to sit and visit with them about their day at school.
To discourage bad snack habits, don’t buy unhealthy snacks or keep them in the house.
Present your snacks with a plate, place mat, napkin and maybe a flower from the garden. This way your snacks always look inviting.
Have jars sitting on the counter with sunflower seeds, raisins, granola, prunes or peanuts for the children. If they see healthy snacks they’re more likely to want them.
Try these snacks on your kids:
- Fresh fruit
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Apples, cut into quarters, with core removed
- Popcorn balls
- Dried apples or bananas
- Oranges, peeled and quartered
- Pumpkin bread
- Banana bread
- Zucchini bread
- Crackers and cheese
- Frozen grapes
- Veggies with ranch dressing
- Celery sticks, spread with peanut butter
- Cherry tomatoes
- Strawberry leather
- Yogurt Popsicles
- Homemade granola bars
- Beef jerky
- Tortillas with cream cheese
- Peanut butter snacks
- Yogurt with fruit or wheat germ added
- Chocolate milk
- Homemade hot chocolate
- Creamy Orange Shake
- Milk shake
- Apples, quartered and cored with 1 tsp. peanut butter on each quarter
- Bananas sliced in half and spread with peanut butter
- Bread or toast cut into quarters and spread with jelly, jam, peanut butter, spiced honey or honey butter
- Crackers spread with peanut butter and jelly or jam
- Place some peanut butter and honey on a pancake and roll up for a snack. This is great for leftover pancakes.
For lots more helpful tips and examples of how to organize your kids, how to get kids to help and how to teach them about money and practical living skills, check out our Saving With Kids e-books.
photo by: abbybatchelder