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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dinner Time Ideas (and a freebie!)

Dinner is sometimes a bit frustrating around here. If you have kids I'm sure you know what I'm talking about! That period when kids all of a sudden become picky eaters and don't like something that they liked last week. Or they won't even try something to see if they like it. Most nights Kayla will hardly eat anything at all, a bite or two maybe, but that's it.

Another problem is keeping her at the table. I believe in family dinners - eating together at the table and talking about our day. Kayla prefers to be up and down, up and down. Sometimes I'll use the timer at the table and tell her she doesn't need to eat if she doesn't want to, but she needs to sit at the table with us until the timer dings...somewhere between 5-10 min.

Then there is the issue if you have a baby in the house. It never fails that said baby will demand your attention as soon as you get in the kitchen to start cooking.

So I need quick meals to get on the table and new recipe ideas...recipes that don't involve a lot of preparation or ingredients, and something that might get Kayla actually interested in eating! She's been grocery shopping with me plenty of times, occasionally I've let her "help" with dinner, but so far neither of those ideas has really interested her in eating dinner.

September is Get Back To The Table Month and Libby's has a great website devoted just for that! I like Libby's 10/10 Recipes - meals that cost $10 or less and take 10 min or less to prepare. Mexican Tortilla Soup is on my menu now. You can also print coupons for Libby's canned vegetables. I'm all about coupon clipping!

Ragu has another great website for recipes (like after-school snacks, lunch in a flash, and last-minute meals) and getting kids to eat well. I like the new Ragu Pouch. I don't use the microwave to cook a lot of our meals, but when Lucas is demanding to be held, something like this really comes in handy...the sauce is done in 90 secs. And since we're all about eating healthier I like that there is no sugar, artificial additives, or preservatives added.

You can request this free 34-page booklet Feed Our Kids Well which is full of recipes and other meal ideas.

So what are some of your tips for getting your kids to try new foods and making dinner time "fun"?

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Poppy and Peony said...

Oh I went through this...

For getting them to eat, I did the following:

1. Involve in all food prep -washing the veggies, mixing etc
2. Allow a choice of 2 veggies out of three, then I'd gently remind kids they chose those veggies, made them think it really was their choice! lol (I always made sure 2/3 choices were green veggies so I knew they were getting at least 1 with dinner plus 1 other veggie)
3. Put fruit on the plate with the meal - healthy, yummy and good to pick at
4. Made food look fun - smiling faces made of veggies & fruit
5.Make yummy smoothies with "hidden" great things like spinach. Loads of good receipies for this!
6. Had crayons and colouring sheet for after so many minutes. Tried to give colouring sheets related to healthy eating. Was amazing how long kids were @ the table then!

There you go, my tips in a nutshell!

Shawndi84 said...

Thank you! Yes, the walk was awesome! Both of your babies have such beautiful eyes, WOW!!


Lindse94 said...

If you don't get the free Kraft magazine, then sign up. It is terrific and has easy meals:)

annie said...

I try to make easy things in the crockpot when the weather cools off... and offer salad with ranch because my kids will eat almost anything with ranch! i think dipping sauces are key. :)

mom2noah said...

If I could only get Noah to just eat......maybe I will try some trick on my DH, as he seems to wonder from the table immediately after leaving many dirty dishes behind. I hope you and your family are doing well. Happy Belated Anniversary, a very touching story. thanks for sharing

Jeanette said...

Anthony's job is to "break the spaghetti" There is no real reason to break it, other than this is HIS job. While I am browning the meat and the water is heating up, he does his job. He also likes to mix and pour, so I put ingredients in little bowls so he can add it in like a real chef. He is also my guacamole guy. Nobody sqaushes acacodos like my Ant. BTW, can you tell that we watch a lot of Food Network?

Jen said...

Miller wont sit at the table. It wears me totally out. Thanks for your tips.....

Amy said...

I was brought up in a family that ate meals together, so I try to make sure Avery and I eat together. Because of her sensory issues and oral motor issues, getting her to eat has always been challenging so I make meal time as much fun as I can, and I am not sure my philosophy would jive with other moms...I just do what I have to to get her to eat. While I make dinner we often listen to music...pretty loud, lol, I let her sample veggies I am cutting, stir the pot, stand on a chair and watch,etc....at meal time she is allowed to watch tv and have a toy with her. The recipes I use often have veddies imedded in them, like casseroles, so i don't have to beg her to eat her veggies, she gets it in her entire meal. All of this has worked for us, so far, but I know it will change someday. Visit my blog, I have a couple recipes up that are nutrious and yummy for kids. A couple have chicken in them, I will often buy what are called breast tenders/strips or chicken thighs which are cheaper than chicken breasts.

Sue said...

I hear you. With all our eating issues, meals are pretty stressful for me. I'm always good for new recipes and ideas. Thanks.

Lori said...

My Wyatt gets a small treat for sitting still. He also does not eat but sitting still is a must.

I make a meatloaf that is loaded with veggies. I saute onions, green peppers, yellow squash and carrots. Then I chop them to shreds so that they cannot be detected in the meatloaf itself. They don't even know that they are eating the veggies

Nancy M. said...

I'm not sure how to make it more fun. I am usually just trying to make it through it. It is harder with a baby wanting this or that all the time.

Anonymous said...

No great ideas I'm afraid. I do allow some music sometimes, depending on who's there (sometimes my H works nites), I do try to include at least one thing that I'm pretty sure she will like. I would say until she was seven it was a struggle to have her sit, after that not so much. If she had her way we'd eat chicken tenders/hamburgers and french fries every day!

Jill said...

While it is definitely a pain during mealtime... my girls know that we have a rule that they must sit at the table until everyone is done eating - regardless of whether they're done. It's finally starting to get easier, but I'm very rigid here and I won't give in.

To combat this, I always make sure that there are nibbles on the table after school... healthy of course. They can munch on any cut up carrots, apples, cucumbers, red peppers to their hearts delight.

We also have a "bite" rule... they each have to try whatever new thing is on the table - and take at least the number of bites that correspond to their age... so Riley must take 5 bites and Sheridan must take 3.

chelle said...

Thank you for this ... I ahve been struggling with meal ideas for a while!