I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I Am! ~Dr. Seuss.
I couldn't resist. If you know me at all then you know I am a great lover of Dr. Seuss. I collect his books for my kids and I just love reading them, even today. I think this quote is so important. For those of you that may be in the minority and maybe have never read this story (are there really any of you out there?), it's about a guy named Sam trying to get this other guy to eat his green eggs and ham. He tells him to eat the meal in different places and in different fashions and the guy says no until finally he gives up and he actually likes the green eggs and ham! Go figure. I think most of the time our brain tells us we won't like something based on looks alone and not by the actual fact that we may like the thing we are staring at. If only our minds would get out of the way. That being said, kids and often times adults will have issues with eating healthy things. Whether it is a fruit or a vegetable or something else that is healthy, sometimes it's just not wanted. Sometimes it's ok to have food items that you won't eat as long as you are eating well otherwise. But in the case of some people (mostly kids), it's hard to get them to eat anything that may resemble normal food. Chicken strips or fries anyone? Macaroni and Cheese? There are so many things I want my kids to eat that I just know they will enjoy but how do I get them to eat them? These are the things I try and hopefully they will be helpful for you too.
1. Ask them how they want it
This may seem a little bit obvious but I think this is something that most people will actually forget to do! Just ask them. What do they want? How do they want it cooked? Or not cooked? With sauce or without? Whatever gets them to eat it. If they give you an answer then go with it and make it work. Then hold them to it. If they wanted it that way, they have to eat it that way!
2. Give them choices
Ok this one is another obvious one for me but sometimes we don't have the ability to give our kids choices. Especially when you don't want to make two meals. In our house they have to eat what they get and they have to eat vegetables off the plate. We are not always successful but depending on the night it works well! If I ask them what they want before we start cooking and both options are a viable addition to the dinner I am making, then what do I care? They are now excited to eat it because they were given the power to choose.
3. Spread out the love throughout the day
Give them options of good foods all day long, not just dinner time. The more often they eat things throughout the day off of the healthy menu the less they have to eat in one sitting like dinner. Carrots and ranch in their lunch sack and strawberries for breakfast. Lots of options and lots of ways to make it count all day long.
4. Involve them in the cooking
Some kids get really excited at the prospect of cooking something that they made themselves. This does many things for them. It tells them that you value their services and it helps them learn to love cooking. Get really into it! Buy a chef's hat and an apron for them to wear. My daughter will put her apron on just to get the chance to crack one egg at breakfast. Cooking becomes a chore when you are an adult but as a kid you think it's fun! Explore cooking with your kids and get them to love it. They love the process and therefore are more willing to eat what you are making together. They see exactly what is going in and they know they will love it. Better yet- if you grow your own vegetables, have them help you pick them from the garden when they are ready. Teaching your kids these life lessons are so important at a young age. It might take a little longer but truly they do get faster as they get older.
5. Hide them
Last but not least, you can hide the veggies in the meal. I do this all the time. Especially when the meal is the same color as the vegetable! I have grated yellow squash finely into macaroni and cheese, or even added butternut squash that was cooked and pureed. I have added lots of different veggies to spaghetti sauce. The red overpowers almost everything you throw at it within reason! I have even added veggies to the meat when we make sloppy joes or hamburgers. There are tons of options for this. If you can't get them to eat it while knowing about it then you at least have to try to get them to eat it unknowingly. It's not sneaky, it's parenthood. Enough said.
I am a true lover of all things in the kitchen because I love to cook! Ya know what sounds like fun? Taking pictures of you and your family cooking together. It's an awesome experience to do it as a family so why not document it? And what better photos to display inside your kitchen then those of you all cooking together? See? There are tons of ideas floating in my head. If you have an idea that you would like to throw at me for a photography session then contact me today! I am up for "almost" anything. ;)
If you want to see more of my stuff then go ahead and take a look around and stay awhile. I love documenting my own life as well as yours. When was the last time you had a family photography session? Is it time you scheduled one?
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