Confession time. It has been a real struggle lately to get my daughter to eat healthy. My sweet little Phoenix Rae is my stubborn, fiesty little girl and I have been really struggling lately to get her to want to eat healthy.
Last night, she sat at the table for almost two hours, sitting stubbornly in her chair with her arms folded because she wouldn’t finish her two bites (we have a two-bite rule at our house….more on that in a minute).
Parenting is hard. So freakin hard sometimes. There are a lot of nights where I go to bed and my to-do list (even though I have the best intentions of finishing everything) hardly gets touched, my house is a mess, and I go to sleep wondering if I’m even doing a good job.
So last night, after our dinner debacle, I had to really take a look at what I am doing from a nutrition standpoint with my kids and try to figure out if I needed to make any changes. Ultimately, I decided to just show myself some grace, reminded myself that parenting is just plain hard, and realize that even though I might feel like I’m failing sometimes….that I am doing a good job.
I thought back to some of the things that have worked for me in the past to get my kids to eat healthy, and thought I would share those with you guys because they really do work (well….sometimes lol….the older my kids get the more I realize that there are no guarantees with parenting and things that work with one kid won’t always work with the other….so know that these are just some good ideas I’m sharing but that I have moments of struggle as a parent as well).
Tip #1) Start giving them healthy food at a young age. As soon as they can start on solids, try making your own baby food. It sounds more intimidating that it really is, you usually can just blend foods up like you would a smoothie and freeze it in ice cube trays for later. Not only does it taste better (IMO), but it is a LOT less expensive (instead of a dollar for two small packs of baby food you are looking at around 10 cents). We tried not to do a lot of the processed stuff, (crackers, goldfish, puffs, etc) and tried to get them used to the same kinds of foods that we eat.
Tip #2) Monkey See, Monkey Do. Our kids see us eating healthy food during the day. This helps. Our kids are naturally going to pick up on our habits and if they see us drinking a lot of soda or eating a lot of junk food they are going to want to do the same.
Tip #3) Keep it out of the house. I don’t keep junk food or snack foods in the house (for the most part). That is mostly for me because if it’s in the house I snack on it too much. Granola bars, goldfish, crackers, fruit snacks, I just don’t buy them because I snack on them and it derails me from my fitness goals. It never fails, if I have those foods in the house the kids always find a way to sneak into them and will fill up on those foods instead of other healthy options.
Tip #4) Just keep trying! A few months ago my son wouldn’t eat any green vegetables. He didn’t want anything to do with them. Now green is his favorite color so what do you know...he’s all about green foods now lol. You just have to keep trying different things. I read somewhere that a baby, when they spit food out, has to try it up to 13 times before they finally get used to that food.
TIp #5) Make it fun. We sing this cheesy song “Try it you’ll like it rule” when the kids are little. We have a two bite rule. They don’t have to like it, but they have to at least try it and take two bites. If they don’t like it, I don’t make them finish but they have to at least try. And a lot of the time if they see us eating it they will try it too (not always, but sometimes). If we have the junk food there, of course my kids will always pick junk food over healthy food so that’s why I just really try to keep it out of the house.
Tip #6) Make healthy food taste good. Easier said than done (obviously) lol but one of my kids’ favorite snacks are smoothies. I’ll blend up some fruit (bananas are super cheap) with some milk or almond milk and add some protein powder in there (my favorite is the MRM brand which is safe for kids) and tell them we are making homemade jamba juice.
So what was the final verdict last night with my sweet, fiesty, and stubborn Phoenix Rae? Well, she sat at the table pouting for a solid two hours because she didn’t want to eat her sugar snap peas. I wouldn’t let her get up and she wasn’t going to give in. Finally, she saw all our neighbors playing kickball in the backyard and wanted soooo badly to play. I wouldn’t let her until she ate her peas…..and guess what? After two hours she gave in, shoved those peas in her mouth, and ran outside and played with the neighbors.
I guess being the mean mom pays off sometimes.
I love you guys, I’m right here in the parenthood struggle with you. We got this.