Solution #1: Getting Kids to Eat Real Food: A No Stress Guide

A child holding a heap of Brussels sproutsComing together around the family table for a home cooked meal is one of the most powerful things you can do for the lifetime health of your kids—and it starts as early as your little one can sit in a highchair. But it’s also one of the most difficult challenges busy parents face. Life is hectic, picky eaters are frustrating, and it’s often easier to pick up a package of nuggets and call it dinner.

So how do we actually make this home cooking thing happen? And when we do make time to cook, how do we get our kids to actually eat the food we make?

It starts with one new food.

This week, to celebrate the launch of my new book, The 52 New Foods Challenge,

Book cover for 52 New Foods

I’ll be sharing five simple solutions that will set you on the path to dramatically change the way your family eats—to end food fights, boost variety, and bring back the joy of mealtime. These strategies worked for my family, and thousands of others across the globe. And all it takes is one hour each week. Let’s get started:

Solution #1: Focus on Fun, Not Food

The more you focus on exploring food together, as opposed to pushing for tasters, the faster you’ll see the changes you’d like to make. Think of it like dating. You wouldn’t get married on your first date. Why would you expect your kids to love Brussels sprouts the first time they meet? They need to get to know each other.

Fall is a fantastic time to explore new foods together. Try one each week. In-season foods that can be super fun to explore with kids include Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, butternut squash, pomegranate, and persimmons. Focus on fun adventures the food inspires (not the eating), like figuring out how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate, peeling Brussels sprouts, and scouting out a bunch of different varieties of pumpkins at a local farm.

 An easy thing you can do this week:

Invite Exploration: Head to the farmers’ market together. Ask open-ended questions like, “I wonder if the color on the inside of a pumpkin changes depending on the color on the outside?” Follow their questions with more questions, like, “I’m not sure why Brussels sprouts grow on a stalk. Let’s explore together to find out.”

Tune in tomorrow when I share Solution #2: Cook Together.

Jennifer Tyler Lee

Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award-winning series of healthy eating games, Crunch a Color®.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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