When I became a mom to a toddler, I decided I wasn’t going to do food battles with my kids. I follow Kids Eat in Color on Instagram(if you don’t, you should — she’s one of my favorite accounts), and I have found her strategies so helpful and her philosophy is one that I follow: it’s our job to decide what to serve and when and it’s our children’s job to decide what to eat and how much. I struggled with eating issues as a teen, and I don’t want my children to as well. I want them to learn to trust their natural hunger cues and cravings. I really believe that we naturally know when we’re full, our bodies tell us what we need to eat via cravings (something I’ve become more in tune with since carrying two babies), and by forcing kids to “finish their plates” or “eat their veggies”, we’re asking them to tune that out and setting the groundwork for battles that can backfire, leading to picky eating and food battles. With that said, I am definitely not an expert, and you know I’m not a chef by any means — this is just my opinion and how I’m approaching meal time with my family. While I don’t want to do food battles, I do want my children to learn manners, how to sit at the table, and focus long enough to eat. I also want to make meal time fun for the kids and our family.
Family dinners were always a staple at our house, and eating together as a family is important to me. It’s a time when we can all catch up, turn off distractions like TVs, computers and phones, and just focus on being together. But James and Charlotte are little, so in order to make meal time fun for them — and for us — (and somewhat civilized), I need to do more than make something they’ll eat and supply good conversation (mostly Paw Patrol-related obvs). I’ve found that spicing things up is the key to making meal time fun for everyone. Here are some (mostly Amazon) finds that have helped me do just that.
Here are my favorite ways to make meal time fun — and get the kids to eat.
From top left:
Maze Plate (this is so fun for meals and snacks and a good way to get them to try a variety of foods)