How I get my kids to eat what I cook ... - Baby Steps in High Heels

Sunday, February 22, 2015

How I get my kids to eat what I cook ...

If I had a nickel for every book, blog, and pin I have scoured to find the trick to get my kids to eat what I cook … well, I’d be a pretty happy momma.

There are tons of ideas and suggestions and methods out there, and I have researched them all.

My kids are the quintessential picky eaters, and meal time can be the toughest part of our day.

I have thought about every aspect food, micro-planned meals and snacks, and obsessed right there with the rest of you.

I am not here to tell you that I have the trick, but I do want to share one little thing that I have learned along the way.

It recently occurred to me that half the food battle is just helping kids to overcome their uncertainty about what is on their plate. For kids, it’s not just about what it might taste like, but what it looks like, what it feels like, and probably so much more.

I have realized that some of the very many circus tricks I have performed over the years to get my kids to eat have one specific thing in common …. When something was new, I added in a bit of familiarity.

When we introduced lasagna for the first time, we simply called it pizza-sagna.

With chicken and rice (and sometimes even spaghetti), I add some melted American cheese to make it resemble their beloved macaroni and cheese.

When we tried oatmeal, I added sprinkles. 

Okay, we still add sprinkles to oatmeal almost every single time.

What seems to work best is to help them find something familiar in new foods. It puts them at ease and gives them a little bit of courage.

This is not to say that we don’t endure epic meltdowns prior to their even trying the food. Nope, we’d never be lucky enough to escape that special experience. But it has helped get them through the first couple of bites, which usually leads to the following conversation …

Kids - Oh, mommy! You were right! I love this!

Me – Wonderful, honey. Now do you see what I meant? You can trust your mom. I know what I’m talking about.

Kids – I don’t know about that mommy. 


  1. Great tips! Sprinkles make everything better :)

  2. Sprinkles in oatmeal!! Yes please! I have got to try this! :) What a fun idea of renaming things! We normally go through a ritual of naming everything on the plate and then singing Daniel Tiger's "You gotta try new foods cause it might taste good!" song. So far, it's been a good combination for us! Ha ha!