Raising Children to Eat and Enjoy Food + Weekly Meal Plan

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A couple of days ago I came across a book that was just published this month. French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon is the story of a North American family that moved to France and saw the vast difference in our approach to food compared to their approach to food. French children don’t snack BUT they do eat a variety of foods (or are at least willing to try them!). They eat happily even when served beets or mussels. No, I was not asked to review this book  (but, Ms. Le Billon, if you are reading this, I would love to!) bUT, it definitely caught my attention. Raising our daughter and future children to eat a variety of foods – or to at least try them – is really important to me. I don’t want my child to be known as “picky”.

With Isa being our first child, there have been multiple times when I’ve had those “HELP” moments with other moms. Those “how do you get your child to eat that?” questions.  I noticed myself giving in to serving her the same thing because I knew she liked it. And if she likes it, she’ll eat it…by herself (with out any coaxing)…she’ll satisfy herself which will allow her to play well by herself with no whining-while-clinging-to-my-leg moments and ultimately, she will sleep well. And when she sleeps well (whether it’s during the day or night) it’s a good thing for any mama.

And for those times when she didn’t eat well, she definitely snacked on foods that she liked. It made her happy. It made me happy. But come next meal, she wasn’t that hungry and wasn’t eating well again, which meant more snacking later on. Was I creating a picky eater already at such a young age? No, she didn’t eat the normal things. Her favorites are still green olives, dill pickles, sauerkraut, and spicy chili but she didn’t want to try a lot of new foods.

So with advice and suggestions from friends (aka Super Moms) and my own trial and error, I feel like we’re down a different path these days. There are still many things that Isa tries and then pushes away but she’s expanding her taste repertoire and she’s even SLOWLY beginning to enjoy some foods that she didn’t before. So why is she eating more foods & enjoying them?

  • She has 3 meals a day.
  • We “share” meals. She is intrigued by what I’m eating & wants it just because I’m eating it. (*This has really been the magical touch with her.*)
  • One “snack” between lunch & supper – a sippy cup of raw milk.
  • And the addition of 4 top teeth and 2 molars doesn’t hurt anything either. J

Meals for this coming week (all served with side salad):

Monday ~ Lebanese Bulgur & Ground Beef Skillet

Tuesday ~ Gingered Carrot Soup & Sourdough Bread

Wednesday ~ Olive Lover’s Lentil Salad

Thursday ~ Sloppy Joes over Baked Potatoes

Friday ~ Homemade Pizza

Saturday ~ Meatloaf and Roasted Asparagus

Sunday ~ Popcorn & Blueberry Smoothies

What are your tried & true tips for creating a child to enjoy a variety of foods?

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This post is linked to WLWW Link up at Women Living Well, Frugal Days, Sustainable Days at Frugally Sustainable, Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly The Kitchen Kop, Seasonal Celebrations at Natural Motherhood, Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist, The Welcome Home Link-up at Raising Arrows, Fat Tuesdays at Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking TF

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9 Responses to “Raising Children to Eat and Enjoy Food + Weekly Meal Plan”
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  1. We offer our son a variety of foods and let him eat what he wants, and I only keep foods in the house that I’d be OK with him eating (you won’t find any boxes of macaroni and cheese or frozen chicken nuggets in our house, but we do have hot dogs). I think if you don’t expose your kids to junk food, they don’t want or expect to eat it.

    Also, he eats what we eat. You can’t expect your kid to heathily if you don’t eat healthily, too.

    I also think it’s important not to force kids to eat and to keep offering new things. I read once somewhere that you should offer your child a new dish 10 times before deciding they don’t like it. 10 times is a lot!

    Finally, I think kids are more apt to eat healthily when they’re involved in the process — from growing food in the garden, to picking out foods in the store to helping with meal prep.

  2. My son has been eating homemade food from scratch since he started soilds. He is 13 months now and to date, the only thing I can think of that I think he really didn’t care for was avocado.

    It was only natural for me, as you mention, to feed him what I eat as he is curious. Sometimes it just requires me leaving out hot spices or chopping it up more for him. And thats ok.

    All I know is, I bet the kids eating dull mac and cheese from a box at the sitter wish their lunch was pulled pork and sweet potato fries 🙂

  3. Fortunately, we aren’t a boxed or canned food family either. And your advice of offering them a dish 10 times or more was what my “super mom” friends told me. Unfortunately, this has not gotten her to like avocado, cheese, or eggs. How can you not like these foods?! 🙂

  4. Oh, I completely agree! Homemade food is SO much tastier.

  5. Hannah

    hmmm, I don’t know, sometimes kraft mac ‘n’ cheese just hits the spot; ) My first seemed super picky and it turned out she had allergies. If your child is consistently refusing the same foods and then as you’re working your way up to “trying it 10 times”, on the 5th time they throw up after their first bite and start breaking out in a rash, you can probably go ahead and put that one to rest! ; ) Weird though, my kids have never liked avacado either. 🙁

  6. oh my! Yes, if they throw up, I’d definitely cut that one out! It’s always trial and error, and barring food allergies, it’s still a good idea to continually offer the food. All 3 of my kids have gone through phases as well, so they may like it one week and not the next. My oldest 2 LOVE avocadoes, but my 1 year old won’t touch them. They key is to expose them to as many flavors as possible as their palates are developing. Honestly I never keep track of how many times which kid has tried which food. Once they are on solids, we simply give them what we are eating, and when they get older, well…lets just say that our most often used phrase is ” you don’t have to like it, but you do have to eat it”. Best of luck! Food allergies are so hard to manage and I feel for ya! -kelsi

  7. Yes, obviously I am not talking about kids with food allergies here. If you notice an allergic reaction to a food, you should not keep offering it to your kid. I think even with food allergies, though, sometimes kids can outgrow them, so sometimes it is a good idea to try even those foods again. Obviously, you’d want to follow your doctor’s advice on that, though.

  8. Daja

    As a mother of seven, I simply REFUSE to raise picky eaters! I was thinking of writing a blog post on it and I just may do that! We eat a wide variety of foods and the kids are doing so well. My daughter who is almost 11 recently went out to lunch with some little girlfriends and one mother. When she got home I asked her what she ordered. I was beaming with pride when she told me she ordered a salmon sandwich with a salad! Woot! It was a good mothering moment. She could have ordered fries and a hamburger or something, but she didn’t!

    btw, I’d love your recipe for the olive lentil salad! That sounds DELICIOUS!