This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 50 people will receive $40 off their first two weeks of meals, here!
One thing that Chris and I have always strived to do is feed our kids good, real food while sitting down together for dinner every night. But if you have children, you know that helping kids develop a taste for a wide range of healthy foods can be challenging. So instead of focusing on a world of culinary options and experiences we want our girls to have, we kept our goal simple: we are all going to eat the same thing for dinner. No alternate meals of chicken nuggets or quesadillas or mac and cheese. We’re definitely not always perfect at it, but every time Chris or I post our meals on Instagram stories, we inevitably get a handful of messages asking, “How do you get your kids to eat that!?” So! Here are 5 tips we’ve accumulated over time for getting your kids to eat and eat healthier. We’d love to hear any additional ones that have helped in your house in the comments!
1. Have them help you plan the menu. We’ve been been supplementing our weekly menu with Blue Apron two nights a weeks for years. Not only has it allowed us to try ingredients that are hard to find around here, but new recipes and foods, too! Not to mention, they have such balanced, healthy meal options. We love to pull up the weekly options (there are now 8 recipes to choose from each week (instead of 6) and you can now choose any combination of recipes you’d like!) and have the girls point to something they want to eat. Or simply ask, “What do you want to have for dinner this week?” Building meals around something they do know and like goes a long way. For instance, our girls know tacos, so they wouldn’t think twice about biting into Chicken Souvlaki! Rice is a staple they love, mixing in some veggies with it when we made Orange Soy-Glazed Salmon last week was a hit.
2. Have them help you prepare it. Our girls love to help out in the kitchen and it really helps them be invested in the meal and proud of the outcome when we all say how good it is. Our 3 year old is great at washing veggies and stirring ingredients. Our 8 year old loves to read the instructions, and can peel and dice! I think encouraging kids to be involved with the ingredients directly is so important for a healthy relationship with food.
3. Cute Kids’ Plates are a powerful secret weapon. I don’t know the science behind this, but my three year old will eat all of her food when I put it on her divided pink tray with the bear picture on it, or in her minnie mouse bowl, far more often than when it’s on a beautiful (but boring) white plate–or in the case of this particular night–gray bowls. Why is that?! But at the same time, fine by me.
I think it might be that the ingredients aren’t touching, or she gets to bounce around from food to food? Or maybe she just really loves pink (she does). Either way, bring on all the kids’ plates (and load them up with veggies). Here are a few favorites around here:1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6. | 7. | 8. | 9.
4. Make sure their food is ready to eat. This is the funniest tip and wasn’t a problem with our first child, but our second loses all interest in her food if it’s not ready to eat when she picks up her fork. That could mean making sure it’s cut up into bite-sized pieces and it’s not too hot when she takes that first bite. I can’t even tell you how long we spent one night convincing her her food was cooled down to an appropriate temperature after she took an initial bite too quickly. Now, we love to ring the dinner bell when the food is ready to eat!
5. The last tip is dips on the side are always a win. This night we made Blue Apron’s Orange & Soy Glazed Salmon with Mushroom & Bok Choy Rice. Chris and I drizzled our Soy Glaze over the Salmon (it was out of this world!) but kids just like to dip things, so allowing them to do that makes the whole experience more fun for them. Sauce on the side is the way to go for our girls. Almost every meal has a good option for this, whether it’s soy sauce, salsa, sour cream, au jus, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, ketchup, ranch or other dressings!
What are some of your tried and true tips for getting your kids to eat?? If you haven’t tried Blue Apron, you have to! It has really expanded and enriched the meals we eat. The First 50 readers will get $40 off their first two weeks of Blue Apron right here!