Today I am so excited for Mommy To Mommy Q&A because we are talking about Eating with Kiddos! Lots of great advice from some awesome mommies! Hope you find something that helps you! I know I did! Feel free to leave your advice in the comments as well!
Lets meet our this weeks mommies!
Cindy: I am a stay at home blogging mamma and loving every minute with my two energetic boys! My oldest little man is 5 and my youngest is 2. My husband is an engineer in the food industry. Our family is vegetarian and our youngest son was diagnosed with a life threatening peanut and tree nut allergies as well a a dairy allergy and gluten intolerance. We blog about recipes that are adaptable for all eating styles!
Hi, I'm Sarah Eleanor from Spoon Fed Baby. I blog about homemade baby food, play time ideas, products I love and well, um, staying sane as a stay at home mom! My son is 13 months old and thankfully not walking yet (knock on wood). My husband is awesome and sometimes reads my blog (Ha!).
Coffee drinker, candy addict and self professed introvert, Taara blogs at Dual Voltage on the joys and challenges of living as a missionary abroad and raising her two kids, Lucas (3.5) and Elena (2) in a multi-cultural context. At her blog you'll find everything from craft tutorials to party ideas, cultural observations to parenting epiphanies, and all sorts of random tidbits along the way.
Q- How do you get your kids to try new things? My younger 2 will try anything, my oldest absolutely will not!
Cindy: Getting to try new food items can be so tricky! Often times its how its presented to the kiddos that gets them hooked! Don't be afraid to "play" with your food! A fellow blogger told me...you cooked that food with love, so put it on your plate with love. That is very true. Take some time and present a new veggie nicely on the plate, instead of slopping it down (I am so guilty of doing this in the past!) Try mixing a new food with a food that your child likes. Getting them used to the taste a little bit at a time helps!
Sarah Eleanor: My son has been an awesome eater so far. He chows down anything you set in front of him. Now that he is over 1 and is becoming more aware and more toddler-ish, I find that I have to be ok with letting him eat the stuff he likes best (bread and fruit) first and then work in the new food after he is satisfied with the favorites. Mixing them onto his fork together helps also because he is getting his old standby plus the new flavor.
Taara: We try to eat a lot of different foods, and get the kids to at least try a little bit of everything that is served. We also have a little song we sing about how if you "try it, try it, you just might like it" and "it's good to try something new". If a recipe really goes over bad I'll wait a few weeks before trying it again, and if it's still a no-go then we probably won't try it again. Also depends on how mommy feels about it. If I really like it I'll give it another go.
Q - Do you have creative ways to get veggies in your kidos? Again my youngest 2 no prob but the only veggies I can get my oldest to eat is Campbells Veggie Vegetarian soup haha
Cindy: One of my favorite tricks that even my 5 year old still likes is putting their food into a 6 hole muffin tin! My kids will practically eat anything from a muffin tin. Again, its how the food is arranged. Try to vary the color, texture, etc of the veggies. I had a friend that made a HUGE selection of veggies for her 3 kids. She had them sample all the veggies. They had to pick 3 veggies that they promised to eat. She serves at least one at dinner everyday. Her kids have stuck to the plan because they have ownership in making the choice of those veggies! Let kids take ownership in the store by picking out veggies and also let them take ownership in the kitchen!
Sarah Eleanor: My son just starting to not care for the veggies as much. He will eventually eat them but just not with as much gusto as before. Putting veggies into mini meatballs or muffins is a great way to get them in, because they are in something he loves to chow down on.
Taara: My kids are somewhat picky on the veggie front so I make a lot of one-dish meals that you can put tons of veggies in without them really noticing. When I make spaghetti sauce I put in spinach and grated carrots and even I can't notice a difference in the taste. We do try to have salad once in a while and get them to eat raw veggies, like carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers (with dip if it helps!). Soups are also a great way of getting their veggies, I especially like a homemade beef barley soup. Soups are good too because you can make a huge batch and freeze part of it. Then serve it with yummy bread and only give them the bread once they've eaten part of their soup. No joke, we bribe our kids to eat their veggies, with bread. :)
Q - Where do you go to find new recipes or ideas for foods for your kids?
Cindy: I love visiting websites and surfing the web for recipes. I find many recipes at my Gluten Free Fridays recipe party on my site! Its fun to have others come and link up their favorite GF foods!
Sarah Eleanor: I use Weelicious, Pinterest (duh!) and Wholesome Baby Food. I relied on the last one tons as I was beginning to introduce solids. Each food is broken down with nutrition information, when to intoduce it, and lots of tips!
Taara: I signed up with allrecipes.com and get a new recipe every day - some are really good. I keep a lot of my recipes there. Other than that I also make up stuff a lot of the time and have a few really good stand-by recipes that I can make when all else fails.
Q- Can you share a fun kid approved recipe?
Cindy: This is our favorite kid approved snack! Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites! http://vegetarianmamma.com/chocolate-bloghop-frozen-chocolate-banana-bites-chocolatelove/
Sarah Eleanor: One of my son's favorite meals for breakfast is muffins. I found a recipe for whole wheat muffins at food.com that include carrots, zucchini and apples. He chows them down for breakfast and I feel good that he is getting some veggies in!
Taara: Here is a post I wrote a while ago about getting your kids to eat Spinach, with a super easy recipe (http://dualvoltage.blogspot.com.br/2012/04/how-to-get-your-kids-to-eat-spinach.html)
It's basically a pasta alfredo sauce made with bacon, garlic, cream, spinach and parmesan cheese. My kids love almost all things pasta. (except Kraft mac n cheese!)
Q - Do you let your kids cook with you? What age did you start letting them help?
Cindy: As soon as they could hold a spoon I let them "help" Maybe it takes a litlte more prep work, but they kids love it! Have them help by pouring or dumping items into a bigger bowl. They can stir. Its interesting that my 2 year old will try anything that I am prepping to cook. He may be apprehensive at the table to try something new but if he's helped cook it....he'll try it.
Sarah Eleanor: Well, baby boy is only 13 months right now, so we haven't started cooking together yet. He is interested though when I stir something so I will often give him a bowl and whisk and let him stir up his blocks on the kitchen floor. I hope that soon he can help me by dumping some of the ingredients into my pot or mixing bowl.
Taara: Most of the time I cook by myself, but every once in a while my son, Lucas, wants to help. He likes to stir the pot, and usually he is pretty careful. I would like to do more baking things with my kids, but they are still kind of young for that - unless it's a really simple recipe
Q - Whats your best advice for making sure picky eaters get enough of the right kind of nutrition?
Cindy: Never to be forceful. We need to provide a variety of nutrution on their plate. Its their job to learn to eat it. However, as they are learning, we can certainly coach them. I have found the more you force the worse of a battle you will get. And most likely you won't win.
Sarah Eleanor: I have not had to deal with the "picky eater" stage yet, but I have read to not sweat it. Kids will go through phases where they love a food, only to hate it the next week. Take a break from that food and revisit it later. As long as you are giving them a variety of foods on their plate they are most likely getting the right nutrition. You can always be sneaky and add things in to favorite foods to ease your mind. For example, wheat germ can be added in to most anything to give the meal a fiber boost.
Taara: Try a variety and be consistent. I remember reading about how you shouldn't force kids with eating when you are starting to feed solid foods - but as they get old enough to have an opinion, sometimes you have to just make them eat a small amount. Also find fruits and veggies that they like and stock up. I'm also considering starting them on a chewable multi-vitamin.
Q - Does your entire family eat the same thing for dinner or do you make different things for the kids?
Cindy: Typcially we all eat the same thing, unless I make something really wacky! its pretty much been known as a rule at our house, your dinner is on the table. "I am sorry if you don't like it, but that is what's for dinner." They will eat it if they are hungry enough. Most of the time my older more picky son ends up eating it and says "oh wait, I guess I do like this...." :)
Sarah Eleanor: Now that baby boy is 13 months we are often eating the same thing. I will sometimes have to alter what we are eating just a bit to make it suitable for baby boy. For example tonight we had chili for dinner. I took out a serving of meat and cooked it with the tomatoes, beans, and spices separately so that I could make it less spicy and lower sodium than ours. Easy!
Taara: Yes! There is no way I'm going to start cooking individual meals. Sometimes the hubby and I wait until later to eat if we want to have take-out or something, but generally speaking I just cook one meal and the kids have to eat it. Of course sometimes if it's a new recipe and they really don't like it, we substitute some bread/PB etc (after they've tried the food of course!) Did I mention my kids love bread? :)
Some more fun advice from Taara: My biggest piece of advice would be to make an easy, flexible menu with lots of variety. I make a menu every week and usually swap a few meals here and there, but at least I know I have all the ingredients for those meals. We eat Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Brazilian and all kinds of foods. Have fruits for snacks and focus on veggies during meals. When you cook, make double and freeze the extra. It's super handy for a busy day when you just have no time or energy to think about the next meal.
I am working on Octobers Mommy to Mommy Thursdays Questions/Topics etc. I need your help!
What topics are you interested in reading about? What questions would you love to hear advice from other mommies on?
Next Thursday is Juggling kids and house hold and Our first Thursday in October we are talking about Babys 1st year and I still need 3 ladies to participate!
You can comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am also looking for mommies to participate and answer the questions! My goal is to have all the topics and questions ready to send out before October starts!
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