January 22, 2011

Silhouette Winner and Sharing Saturday - your questions

I am wishing so much that I could give you all a Silhouette.  Some of your entries were hilarious and there is definitely a common theme - Santa just didn't get the memo this year.  I also laughed when I saw some husbands enter the drawing for their wives.  I think it would have been funny if one of them would have won.  Anyhow, we finally have our winner. 

Kasia, if I were you I'd probably need to run to the bathroom before I wet myself.  Yeah, pretty exciting stuff here.  Congrats!

I am seriously sorry you couldn't all win one.  You can still cash in on the promotion if you act quickly.  It ends today.

Now, on to today's post.  It's been a while since we've had a Sharing Saturday and I have missed having them.  So, we're back at it today with a few questions from readers.  Here we go:

1) My husband's bday is coming up and I'd love to make him something from our 2 year old, but I'm having a hard time thinking of something (dumb preggo brain!) His bday is right before Valentines so I'm trying to avoid something too heartsy (since I'll be doing that too I'm sure!). If people have any ideas I'd love to hear it!!!

2) What kind of tricks can I use to get my kids to eat vegetables (or any food they don't like, for that matter)?
Two weeks ago, we decided that our kids (ages 5, 3, & 1) really need to start eating healthier foods. They have always been picky eaters, and in the past, our rule was that if they didn't eat their food, they had a punishment like 10 minutes earlier bedtime, or similar. But we realized that as a result, they were literally never eating healthy things, they were just choosing to take the punishment.
So we decided the new rule was, Eat what's on your plate, or sit at the table until bedtime. Guess what happened? They sat until bedtime every night for probably a week, with no hint of breaking! Then I came up with the idea of threatening to go to the dr. to get "vegetable shots" if they didn't eat. Well, this did it, but what has happened now is that we sit for two hours every night with the kids gagging and spitting out food and crying until they finally manage to (barely) swallow the food down. It's EXHAUSTING, for everyone involved.
And we're not talking about gross, large amounts of food here-we're talking three small pieces of broccoli smothered with cheese, or two baby carrots with ranch dressing, etc.- kid friendly food and portions!
I'm just at a loss! I know that a lot of this a battle of proving "who's the boss", but my kids also seem to literally not be able to make themselves eat a food they don't like! We've talked about all the tricks- taking a drink, dipping in sauce, etc., but it hasn't helped.
What do your readers suggest? Do we just not worry about the veggies, and make sure they take vitamins? Do we keep it up, and hope the kids "break" at some point? Is there some trick that someone has tried?

3) I'd like to do something fun with my husband for valentine's day.  He's not really into v-day and I don't want to spend an hour waiting for a table that weekend just to grab a bite to eat.  What do all of you do for valentine's?  Pretend it doesn't exist?  Plan a creative date? 

Okay ladies.  We need your help.  Please tell us what you know.  Don't be shy.


  1. I just picked up the Jessica Seinfeld cookbook. This week I did the purees and next week I will include some of her stuff in our Menu.

    We don't celebrate V-Day, it's Cupcake Day here in our house now that we have kids. I have always loathed this holiday and my hubby benefits not having to get a thing! Instead we let the kids have a cupcake for breakfast!


  2. You've probably already tried it but my eldest picky eater, skinny miss LOVES fairies so we've made up all sorts of reasons why fairies eat various foods like carrots, brocolli, even the crusts on thier bread. She loves fairies so much she will eat whatever the fairies (being what I say) eat. I don't make a big deal of it though (I just got sick of meal time being such a drama), normally all it takes is a distracted off hand comment and she'll gingerly try that 'yucky' looking stuff (as she calls anything green). It doesn't always happen right away but I just continue to dish it up onto her plate each night and after a few weeks she amazingly now eats 80% of whats there without too much fuss. Who know's how long this will last though! I wish you luck!
    The Spangler @
    The Quick Unpick

  3. On two of your subjects:
    husbands birthday. My husbands bday is this week and from my kids...7, 7, 5, I am buying a Farside comic book. I ran across it at the store the other day. It used to be his favorite comic and we didn't know the book existed.

    For Vday, we started a tradition our first year of marriage to find a new recipe and cook dinner together. We sit down with the kids for their simple dinner and then we cook after they go to bed, for us. Although they are getting old enough that we will probably start making it a family vday dinner soon.

    Oh...I guess I do have an idea for the veggies. I tell my kids they aren't allowed to complain about what I put on their plates because they aren't cooking. Sometimes they will like it and sometimes they won't...but what has worked great is I tell them if they would like to continue arguing with me or complaining...then I will gladly give them more that they are required to eat....works overtime.

    Good luck!

  4. Veggies- there was a good article in a Parent's magazine last year that had a nutritionist discuss what fruits are similar in vitamins and nutrients as what vegetables. So if they are haters of broccoli, then a good fruit to serve them would be ------ . You should google fruits similar to vegetable or Parent's Magazine or something like that to see if you can find the article.
    I'd still serve a side of veggies at lunch and supper, but not make it a war at such a young age. At 5 yrs. old though maybe you could have a reward chart where he gets stickers or something if he eats a "thank you" bite of veggies at every meal during the week.

  5. My kids are all really great eaters but I think they've been trained that way. I make one meal - a healthy, not-toned-down-for-kids meal - and that's dinner. They must try everything and occasionally we tell them they must eat all of it (their portions are small). Normally, we give them dinner and whether they like it or not, we tell them "that's dinner". They eat it or they don't ... if they don't (which is quite uncommon), that's their choice but they get nothing else till morning. It takes away any fighting, arguing, punishing - they wake up very hungry the next morning and we just kindly say, "maybe next time you'll eat your dinner". It's the love and logic approach.

    Good luck - I know it can be hard!

  6. Veggies: have the kids help you in the kitchen. When they see how dinner is made it helps a lot. OR start incorporating veggies into the meal. For example, if you are making spaghetti, put some tiny veggies in it.

  7. I don't think it is you or how you present the food; I think it is the kids' taste buds. It takes something like 25 tastes for a food to be familiar to some kids. We tried not to punish them for eating/not eating just because it didn't work when we were growing up (I sat there until bedtime,too. Still don't like cooked cabbage.) I asked the pediatrician and he was never concerned- cereal and milk has lots of vitamins, they weren't starving to death. I think you can sneak in veggies by using purees (but that doesn't help them try new foods,does it?). Sometimes they will like foods in a different form-my kids still remember eating frozen peas-uncooked, while they watched tv and waited for dinner to be ready. By the way, they all grew up and eat many foods that they would not eat as kids. (my son still eats no veggies that I can tell). Good luck!

  8. We do valenitnes day at home with the family. But...the husband cooks dinner for everyone, and I make a surprise Valentine themed dessert-like heart shaped homemade ice cream bars, something fun and different. As for gifts-we always do something funny for each other...my favorite thing I did for the husband was have my sister take some awful glamor shots of me with so much blue eye shadow, long eye lashes, bright pink lipstick and feathers...and gave them to him in a collage frame...we laughed and laughed and laughed. Nothing serious here!

  9. For the birthday gift, why not have your little one color or even finger paint a picture and frame it. I've started using my 3 year old's drawings and making cards out of them for the family. It is cheaper than buying one and they love it so much more than a store bought card.

    Here are some suggestions for picky eaters (I have two, my hubby and my 3 yr old). Involve your kids in meal preparation. Give them healthy options (you can choose a banana or an apple for snack...). Just recently we've started requiring our daughter to take a certain # of bites of each food at dinner (you can use # of bites for each year they are old). I also "sneak" things in. My daughter and 1 love fresh fruit smoothies, I usually throw some baby spinach in the blender first and you'd never know it was in there. Another good one to add is avocado. I also tend to puree veggies into sauces and casseroles (I like using squash in spaghetti sauce). I know how hard it is. Good luck.

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  11. A rewards system might work well. Either they eat it or they don't, but if they do, they get some kind of reward. Make the rewards immediate at first-don't make them earn it for a week. Then, once they start getting better, make them work towards a reward i.e. 5 days of veggie eating and you get to see a movie of your choice with dad. Something they will want to do and not brush of. Also not food related (don't give them ice cream for eating their veggies-it's sends the wrong message). I also think explaining to them why it's important to eat veggies could help. Especially for the 5 yr. old. Tell them we eat veggies to make our bodies and our minds strong. When we skip out on veggies, we aren't helping our bodies the way we need to. If you get the 5 year old to eat them, they younger ones might have an easier time.

  12. What we do is give the kids at least 1 bite of everything at every meal. They don't get any additional servings until everything else is gone. If they haven't touched their food when the meal is over, no big deal. They are excused to do whatever. Kids go through phases, my 3 year old wouldn't touch broccoli forever and now it's his favorite.

  13. A great bday present from one (or all!) of the kids would be a t-shirt or sweat shirt that have the kids handprints on and you write on it "Awesome DAD!" or something of the sort.
    As for the veggies - we've only had slight issues with veggies. Mostly mushrooms - and magically one day I stopped buying mushrooms and started buying "squatties" and they were yummy! My daughter didn't realize they were one in the same until a few years later. But by that point she didn't care because she liked them.
    Another idea - blend up some veggies and cook them into whatever food. Having mac n cheese? Blend up some carrots and cauliflower and stir them in. Having spaghetti? You can blend up all kinds of things and put it in the sauce. Same thing with meatloaf. Funny thing - my husband and daughter both profess to HATE peppers of any color. But when I make meatloaf I secretly blend up some peppers and put it in...and they are none the wiser!
    It might not be getting them to eat their veggies outright, but they'll still be eating them and getting all the nutrients.

  14. Cheri, thanks so much for putting my veggie question out there-I already see lots of good ideas!

    For the hubby's bday present, I've made several custom tshirts for my husband from the kids over the years. If the child can draw, put one of the drawings on a shirt, or even just photos of the child. For my husband's 40th bday, I had the kids holding a sign that said "our dad's 40", and took a photo, then put that on a tshirt. My husband wears them around the house, and the kids love to see the shirts!

  15. Let's see...I like the idea of using the kids' handprints on a sweatshirt or something. You could also use hands to make a "family tree" with Dad's (or yours) being the trunk and theirs the leaves.

    Vegetables, as someone with a picky husband, don't give up! My husband has gotten much more adventurous since we've been married, but at first there were so many things he didn't eat. He still won't eat peanut butter, and I know there are some things people just don't like, but teaching a child to be able to eat something he doesn't like is very helpful. (My husband still dreads parties and potlucks because sometimes there is nothing he likes.)

    When my twin brothers were little we made them eat a specific portion of the foods they didn't like. Of course, it was funny because one liked meat and the other vegetables. When each had been coaxed to eat their "unfavorite" we switched the plates.

    Valentines' Day... I'm not a huge fan of going out the same weekend everyone else is trying to have a romantic weekend, so we usually pick a Valentine Gift, and put what we would have spend at a fancy restaurant toward it. We got a fish tank last year, and that's been a great hobby for us both.

  16. Did I miss the announcement?
    Your pregnant? If so, congrats!

  17. VEGGIES-We are going through some struggles in this house too. How can kids be non picky one day and then super picky the next? Both of my girls used to eat anything at all, try anything, but now veggies and sauces area struggle.

    The rule here is you have to try everything on your plate. I am sure to make at least one thing that they like. We too would have tears over 3 peas.

    But then I started to think, sure, she's eating 3 peas, but is she getting anything nutritionally out of it? So, I too read the article about vitamins in veggies and their fruit equivalent. I think one was if they don't eat spinach, give strawberries. So, my girls still need to eat their 3 peas, but will be getting the same vitamins they are lacking with whatever fruit I provide.

    I'm hoping that it is just a phase and that they will become adventurous with their eating once again.

    Also, I have been throwing a few veggies into a food processor and adding them to things like:

    Carrots and onions go into meatloaf.

    Last week, carrots and black beans went into our taco meat. My pickiest eater was none the wiser and had TWO tacos and asked for a third.

  18. Preggo brain?? I think I missed something!!!f

  19. One of my favorite things to do is have a romantic candle lit dinner at home. However, my issue with that is...I don't want to spend the time cooking & making the mess. So, we do takeout from one of our favorite place. That way, we get the best of both worlds.

  20. I think that was a reader that said she was pregnant!

  21. The veggie war with kids is sometimes so exhausting! I also love the Jessica Seinfield books and have both of them. I havent tried everything but the ones I've tried my family always loves.
    Our rule is you have to have how many bites depending on how old you are. Good luck!

  22. Just a simple response, but one of my friend's favorite sneaky-veggie-techniques is to cut up an orange squash into one-inch cubes, put them in a ziploc in the freezer, and then throw a few cubes into the mac n' cheese. It's exactly the same color and consistency...the kids have no idea it's there. This helps with actually getting the nutrients, but not expanding the taste buds or proving who's boss. That, of course, is the much bigger battle! :D

  23. I second the recommendation of Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook Deceptively Delicious. It has tons of suggestions for sneaking vegetable purees into foods kids like (I.e. squash or carrot puree in Mac and cheese). Another thing she does is put out food in phases - a plate of veggies with ranch dip for snacking while she's cooking, then she brings out the main protein, then the veggie side, and last the pasta or bread. That way, her kids don't fill up on the bread/pasta before having anything else.

    For a gift idea, I made a shirt for my hubby for father's day that said "Best Dad" under that, my son's handprints and then under that,"Hands Down" ...I painted the words on, but you could also use your silhouette and some heat transfer paper for the words for a more professional look.

  24. You can HIDE veggies in lots of foods.

    I have always hidden ground up fresh spinach in my meatloaf. You can grate (really fine) yellow squash and then steam it and when you make mac and cheese put it in. I put the pasta on a plate and then top it w/ the squash and a layer of grated cheese. Nuke and they will never know.

    Zucchini in chocolate cake ....... I serve this at parties for kids all the time and they never know.

    Grind and puree and the veggies mix in well.

    Don't worry about them learning ........ my 17 yr old never liked veggies as a kid but now eats almost EVERYTHING! He discovered he loves onions last year!

    We have had only 1 natural veggie lover but the other 5 have all eaten them unknowingly and all lived!

  25. I second all of the options of sneaking vegetables in where you can. Spinach can be layered in lasagna, veggies in spagetti. My 4 year old usually wont eat her veggies but will if I let her pick out the veggie. Both my kids (4 & 2) will eat lettuce salads.

    Another thing my kids love is the V8 Fruit Fusion, which is kinda funny because I think it's disgusting but at least they're getting veggies.

  26. We make it a family event - as it is hubs's "busy season" and have a dinner in. This is what we did last year.


  27. I have a few gift ideas.. but one in particular is to make a bowl or plate or mug for him. Where I live they have a few places where you can go and paint ceramic pieces and then they glaze it and fire it for you and you come back and pick it up. you can take mulitple visits to paint with kids I usually like to go at least twice giving them time to finish it and it's also a fun outing. This is one of the places I've been too if you need a better understanding of what I'm talking about.

    What I usually do is pick 3 or so colors that would blend nicely together and let the little one go at it and paint to their hearts desire, even if all the paint blends together it will still look nice cause you picked great colors! Or you can just use their fingers and make cute finger designs or just do the simple hand print and/ or footprint. But I find usually the child will have a better time if they get to make it their masterpiece and Dad will love it.

    Another idea is to make a framed scrapbook page for dad's office but instead of using the fancy papers use paintings or drawings as the back ground as well as you can cut out cute little details in drawings and crafts to use as embellishments, get a picture or two or three of dad and little one and it is a lovely treasure for Dad's office.

    Good Luck and have fun!

  28. Usually kids need to be exposed to a food a few times before they try/like it. And, kids aren't going to starve. Instead of punishing them, serve dinner and if they don't want it, they don't get dinner. Don't equate not eating healthy food with something bad and eating healthy food with something good--then they'll think that healthy is bad because they always get a punishment. They have some cool cookbooks where you can sneak vegetables into foods...maybe try that until they learn to like it!

  29. I don't make food a battle. Punishing or rewarding for eating just feels icky to me... I still remember my brother sitting at the table until bedtime b/c he wouldn't eat some yucky soup.
    He never did eat that soup... or any other soup my mom made for years.

    I do have one "rule" though. He must taste at least one of everything. A taste might be just a nibble, but I know that it takes many introductions of a new food for some kids to like it.

    Sometimes I 'hide' veggies al la Seinfield. Mostly I just try to make it as fun as possible. I have them help me in the kitchen a lot. They are more likely to taste new things while we are cooking together. We have been known to play "taste test" games and pretend we are food network judges. I did that at Thanksgiving where there lots of new foods. We each had a tsp size portion of the foods on our plates and took turns tasting together.

    I don't buy junky snack food. So there just aren't any other choices in the house. Fruit, cheese, baby carrots, nut butter on whole grain toast are our snacks most days. So if he doesn't eat much dinner, oh well. I know he got in some nutrition that day.

    Oh and I realy have been liking this blog: http://www.cookingwithmykid.com/

    Sorry to ramble on so! Nutrtion is big for me. LOL

  30. I had a kid that refused to eat anything healthy and after months of frustrating mealtimes ending in tears (mine and his) I told my husband I wasn't fighting anymore. Mealtime had become an unpleasant event. I talked to our doctor who suggested I put him on a good multivitamin and then I began sneaking stuff into his food like carrots and spinach pureed into spaghetti sauce. He never knew. I explained that he could choose to eat what we were eating and that he had to at least taste it but if he didn't want it that was fine. There was to be no snacking after dinner though unless he ate a decent amount of his dinner. I just had to let it go. He's grown up now and will eat anything and laughs at how picky he was. Let's see if he's still laughing when he has kids and they end up being picky.
    For valentines day, we celebrate by having our married kids over for an outdoor picnic served on an ice table (it's cold where we are). I make little luminaries and place them all over the yard and under the table ( a really nice effect) and hang some tea lights in jars in the trees. Romantic and cheap. It only cost a little of my time. I serve hot soup and hot chocolate and then we sit around the fire and make smores for dessert.

  31. I forgot to mention green smoothies. My guys love them! Lots of fruit (bannanas, berries, mangos, pinapple are all great) plus some crushed ice, honey and water to blend it up. Blend in some baby spinach and you can't even taste them. You can also make leftovers into popcicles. :)

  32. For #2- As some one already said the Jessica Seinfeld cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, is a great resource. In the beginning of her book she goes over her philosophy which is to hide healthy foods in foods they will eat (i.e. macaroni and cheese and cicken nuggets) but to still serve the veggies and fruits on the side. The idea is to keep encouraging them to make good food choices by eating fruits and veggies, but without the stress because hidden in the things they will eat are the nutrients from the fruits and veggies they snub. I know it's hard when your kids refuse to comply with your expectations, but avoid punishing them for not eating their fruits and veggies. I read somewhere that punishing them for not eating can translate to a life-long aversion to the food because they associate negative feelings with the food. And as another read suggested, positive reinforcement is good, but I would ere on the side of caution of what the reward is because you don't want to distract them from the lesson on healthy eating you are trying to teach them. I hope this helps... Good luck!

  33. Okay, so I just want to talk about the veggie question 1st. Now I'm not a psychologist or anything...just a seasoned mother of five. However there were a couple things I noticed about the strategy that the mother employed for getting her kids to eat veggies. 1st you all of a sudden decided that they needed to eat more, a commendable idea, however just because you decide it doesn't make it happen. Yes we should all eat veggies but what is important is that you need to make it fun for them not a chore. All the techniques you used to get them to eat their veggies included a punishment if they didn't do it ( not leaving the table until bedtime, getting a shot at the doctor's office). I admit these sound like dreadful things to kids but by forcing them to do something that they had always had an option to avoid ie they could choose to eat their veggies or go to be early, you have inadvertently turned the veggies into the bad guy...something that must be avoided at all costs.

    My recommendation is to back off for a little bit (no you aren't conceeding the battle, just regrouping) discuss with your husband is this a battle you really want to fight and if it is plan out your attack. I personally would start by increasing my daily intake of veggies around the kids, without forcing them to try, and then say positive things about the food like 'I just love how eating broccoli makes me feel like a giant eating a tree' or how it tastes really good. Then after a couple weeks I would sit the kids down and say how you'd really like them to try new foods and ask them for suggestions as to how they think they could do that (even toddlers can have great ideas). By putting it into their court you are giving back to them their ability to choose the foods they like and don't like (which honestly we all do). Perhaps you can make a chart of veggies they've tried and if they liked them or not, if they'd be willing to try them cooked a different way.

    I know that is a lot. I am sooooo not judging your parenting skills it just sounded like you aren't fighting the right, which is they are unhappy they've lost the right to choose what they can or cannot eat. I think if you regroup a bit to collect yourself and remember that if you give your children an option you have to be okay with both choices.

    You could do the deceptively delicious cookbook until they're choosing veggies plain on their own though...that way you can at least feel better about the food their eating. Sorry didn't mean to write so much.

  34. My favorite thing to do for Valentine's day could include the whole family once your kiddos are older. Buy a box of See's candy, make a bunch of little blank valentine's cards. Then, starting on February 1st, every time you want to eat a chocolate, you have to first write a valentine for someone in the family and put it in a little box. Then, on the 14th you get to open the box and read all the love notes. One year I got lots of notes (my husband has a really sweet tooth), another year my husband got one from the baby (I was pregnant and the baby really wanted some chocolate!). It is a fun way to spread the love over two whole weeks and you get to eat yummy chocolate. Be sure not to skimp on the chocolate...we are See's fans, but you can pick any kind you like!

  35. The veggie question...I agree with some of the above commenters who said not to make it such a battle for now and to find a new strategy. Also, I would remove all junk/unhealthy food (for you or the kids) from the house for a few weeks. If you are modeling healthy eating for them, it will be easier for them to follow your example.

  36. I am a new follower and love your blog!! Congrats to Kasia!!

    About the veggies, I try to trick my husband into eating them, ha! I use veggies purees, grated zucchini and it works. You can't even taste them! Also if you want a night that you don't have to think or fight over veggies, make some Manwich. Like the commercials say a full serving of veggies and I throw in some carrot peel while I cook the meat, which means MORE veggies! I feel like a major trickster!

    I have a weight loss blog that you or even fellow readers might like..


  37. I have a suggestion for the dad's bday. I saw this years ago so I can't credit the original source, but you paint the bottom of your kid's foot and have them step onto a piece of card stock. The inscription reads something like, "dad, I want to follow in your footsteps." I would suggest framing it and then if he likes it, you could add a new footprint every year to the frame and save the rest in an album as a way of watching your child grow.

  38. We have a 3.5th old who has decided she really dislikes mealtimes. We have started filling her plate with a healthy variety in appropriate portions and giving her a time limit. If she doesn't eat it, she is done and the plate/food is stored for the next meal when she will either sit and ear or not eat until the next mealtime. She doesn't have a choice. I dont think this makes food the 'bad guy' just conveys structure and discipline to the child that mealtimes are for eating and eating vegetables are simply a part of that.

    That's not to say that I simply give her a spoonful of spinach. :) we try to make it interesting and she helps me cook at every meal, which greatly helps. Just dont make it into a battle. Give them a choice and simply follow through on the pre-determined consequences.

  39. I totally hear you on the vegetables. My little one would not eat them at all. Finally I made a chore chart for a month. When he completed everything on it he would earn a toy that he really wanted. One of the things to earn his toy was to eat his 5 alive.
    So basically I totally bribe him :).
    But its empowering for him, because he is now choosing to eat his healthy food.

  40. for the vegetable problem i remember reading somewhere that you can make a food passport/book then every time they try a new food or eat a certain about of a food they get a "stamp" in their book/passport and when they've redeemed a certain number of stamps they can trade it in for a small prize

  41. Just to add a slightly different view - I was that fussy eater. And it took me well into my teens to eat cooked vegetables. My parents tried every trick to get me to eat things, but I would gag at food (and still do - I genuinely believe that some people aren't so much fussy as just really sensitive to textures or tastes). The one thing I can say is don't force children to eat food if they are becoming distressed and crying. I remember very clearly being forced to eat an egg (not physically forced of course) through my hysterical tears at about age 4 or 5. I was promptly sick and I still cannot eat eggs unless they are in something else (I'm 28).

    My Mum just got good at mixing things in - like so many people have suggested - putting twice as many eggs in pancake batter (which being English we had once a week in Yorkshire pudding) and, with vegetables, finding things I would eat and just settling for those!

    Don't make it a battle - if it's got to that stage, you won't win! Relax and let children learn to like things in their own time. In fact, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't try things (or tried things and said I didn't like them regardless) for a long time because I knew that if I did and liked them, then I would get laughed at or be told 'I told you so'. I eat most things now, and even love some of the things I would not touch - like onions and tomatoes.

    Good luck, but don't worry.

  42. question 1) I have the 5 and 2 yo helping on a shirt for Daddy (my hubby's bday is 2/7). I'm doing a freezer stencil (ala I am Momma...) and doing it where you put the subject down on the shirt (a zombie scene) and then using the spray tshirt paint so the outline will be the tshirt color and then the spray part will be messy. There are some reverse freezer stencils on this blog if you need some visuals and the spray can should be easy enough for a 2 yo.
    2) make it fun - dips and creating scenes out of the food. :)
    3) This year I'm making something for the house, but basically has an I love you type of message. He gets the I love you message and I get some decor for the house, win, win :)

  43. The ONLY reason my kids get their veggies: V8 Fusion!!

    Each cup has a FULL serving of fruit and a FULL serving of veggies. They love it! They will not eat ANY veggies, but they will drink the juice and ask for more all day! I personally don't care for it... but they do! Their hands down fav is Peach Mango.

  44. A lot of people suggested reward systems, but think hard before employing one. It seems like the best thing to do, but as a teacher I have been introduced to multiple scientific studies that show that students' grades DECREASED overall when a reward system was introduced. The reason is that kids come to expect a reward for all the work they do, and anything that doesn't come with an easy reward isn't worth it to even attempt. Their intrinsic motivation is gone.

    So, when you try to get kids to eat their veggies, look for intrinsic motivators. Hunger is a great intrinsic motivator. My parents never let us have seconds, snacks, or dessert until we ate our veggies. A few times I went to bed hungry, but I learned quickly.

    We have taken this a step further in our house, because in the last year I have committed to eating healthier and I have lost weight, but I still love to eat lots of food! So, at our house I make small portions of the "main dish" no matter what it is (chicken, pizza, mac, you name it) and serve it already on their plate. Then they can choose how much veggies or salad they want to supplement with, and I usually offer large bowls of two different kinds. So at least half of everyone's plate is vegetables. If they choose not to eat it, fine, they go to bed hungry. But they have started to eat more and more as their taste buds get used to the flavors. They still get their "yummy part" as they call it, but since it is not filling their entire stomach, they are motivated to have some veggies with it.

  45. I actually took my kids to a nutritionist once (ages 4 & 2). My son won't eat anything healthy. Literally, he only eats olives. I tried once to make him carrots and he gagged so hard he threw up.
    The woman was very understanding and said that i should obviously keep offering healthy foods and the deal is that he has to atleast try it. If he doesn't like it - he can spit it out on his plate or in garbage. But he must atleast try it - every time it is on his plate. Our first visit and discussion on this was about a year ago. Now he will have yogurt for a snack, olives, bananas, peaches, and a few others. I know that it is no laundry list of healthy of foods but he was literally eating nothing.
    It worked for us and we don't sit at the table forever and there is no punishment involved because he knows that if he doesn't like something it ok to to spit it out. So there is no more trauma at our table and no more throwing up all over our set dinner table either!!

  46. I personally am not a fan of veggies so I bought Jessica Seinfeld's book, too. LOVE it! I know they are in there, but it's so much easier to eat them when I can't see them! My favourite is cauliflower or brocolli in shepherd's pie. IT's awesome! And so much more filling!

  47. I didn't have enough time to read all the responses, but here is my suggestion for #2. Kids who won't eat veggies. Instead of a punishment how about a reward if they do! Maybe a 1/2 TV time, scoop of ice cream for dessert, fruit snacks....also if no luck onthe veggies try fresh fruit....smoothies? same difference? Good luck.

    I like cupcakes for breakfast on Valentines day! I think we'll rent a movie and pretend we're on a date...easy peasy. We have a local homemade chocolate shop, gotta grab a box of those for the Hubbs. Consider it done.

  48. My birthday as well is near Valentine's Day, and I have never been into the commercial "love" holiday. My mom always made a fun family dinner (7 kids) with heart shaped jello molds and we got a small gift, my favorite were large heart suckers. I have tried to keep that simple but sweet concept in our family, although my boys don't like jello. We live in a small town with not great restaurants. My husband loves Morton's, so we purchased the Morton's cookbook for our anniversary a few years back and since then we make Valentine's dinner together with our favorite recipes. And dessert is always something chocolate like lava cakes dusted with powder sugar in the shape of a heart. My two boys love it, but unfortuately I have no advise on getting them to eat veggies. My oldest is super picky and textures have always bothered him (sensory issues) and the younger not so much, but lately I am seeing the roles reverse. They are both healthy and active in sports, we limit the junk as best we can, hopefully they will be less picky as they get older. And although I am not a paper crafter (I'm a fabric artist), we always make homemade Valentine's cards for each other. They always impress Dad.

  49. BIRTHDAY GIFT: I loved Cheri's ideas on this blog for Christmas gifts for men. Several are kid friendly enough your 2 year old could help. I made the treat jars for my husband for Christmas and he loved them and they aren't seasonal so they could easily be given as a birthday gift.

    As for VEGGIES, any time you make food a battle with kids you'll lose. One bite of an unfamiliar or disliked food is enough. And I don't make my kids do this once they've tried something and don't like it. If you really feel like you need to make a point, tell them in order to get dessert or treats or whatever, they need to eat a whole carrot or whole spoonful of whatever they don't want to eat first. If they won't do it, just let it go. At least they won't be eating lots of sweets. Blend stuff up to disguise it when you can if that works for you. Chances are, when your kids are grown up their tastes will change and they'll get more adventurous. Take it from a former picky eater. Your kids will gain a lot more from having happy mealtimes than they will from eating some vegetables.

  50. you can also try "The Sneaky Chef" by Missy Chase Lapine. This is another book about hiding healthy stuff in foods. Good luck:)

  51. In answer to question 2, I think it is always good to make food Fun! Something we did in our nursery was Flat bread faces we had a range of fruit and veg and cheese that the children could place on the wrap to make faces, they got to help cut up vegtables and grate carrots, cheese, they could also eat as they went along. Also including friends made them want to try something there friends enjoyed, this way they get to enjoy many acpects of Food Touch, Smell and hopefully taste.

  52. Definitely pick up one of the two Jeassica Seinfield books... The recipes are truly delicious. It's not the best, i.e. the kids are not really learning to eat their veggies, but at least your can stop worrying a little and there's no more fights. They will learn, in time. You can also treat the purees for what they are, baby food. Just like with babies, as you<re kids get use to the taste of, let's say mashed potatoes with cauliflower, you can puree the cauliflower less and less until there are chunks of it inside the mashed potatoes... Hope this helps!

  53. We've been dealing with super-picky eaters here too and lately have been really focused on figuring out how to make mealtimes (at home and at restaurants) pleasant instead of constantly begging them to "eat 3 more bites" or "no ___ unless you try the ____." And I have to say, I hate the battle. I want to make it pleasant and easy on all of us. And as a picky eater myself, with a picky eater for a husband - with both of us having nightmare "you sit here until you eat it" experiences, well I have to say we may have been too indulgent of their tastes. But I still firmly believe that it's ok to not like things and that we're not going to turn it into a battle we can't win. So our latest tactic is two-fold. First, we told the kids that we will be doing the "no thank you bite" of whatever I have prepared for dinner that day. Am I going to sit there all night and force them to eat the one bite? Nope. But to encourange them to eat it we are doing "brownie points." If they try something new that day, they get a brownie point. Once they have 10 brownie points they get a reward. This time the reward is that they get to choose a dessert for the whole family. But other times it will be bowling, or the pool, or whatever. My 7 year old is much more into this idea than my 4 year old and has been trying a lot more food than her brother. But I'm sure if we keep it up he'll be more willing eventually.
    I've also picked up some other good tricks from reading the comments here - thanks everyone!

  54. Veggies in smoothies is great too. Carrots, broccoli and spinach blend well with fruit for a tasty healthy treat. Adding almonds or cashews is always yummy too! Raw veggies are better for us anyway :)

  55. Oh Cheri,
    I think in one time or another, especially in a family of a few kids, you are going to have some picky eaters.
    I have been there many nights and when I am loosing my mind and patience.

    Funny thing is when my in-laws are in town, my 8,6,and 3 year old will eat anything my mother-in-law puts on the table. They hate eating my salad but when it's Obaachan's salad, then it rocks. I guess it can sometimes make you disgruntal when things like that happen, but I try not to let it consume me. It sounds like that is what is happening to you. Her advice to me is to cut up things really small (I mean so small that can't even figure out what it is, lol ) like carrots etc..so they will eat it. So when I do cook certain dishes, then I do that. But normally I just stick with what they like and it's worked pretty good on the normal cooking week. I wish you good luck and I think by all these comments and help you are bound to get through your phase of pickyy eaters.

  56. Okay, question # 2. Get the books Pretend Soup, Enchanted Broccolli and Salad people. They are pictoral cook books for kids and they are VEGETARIAN HEALTHY, that is a whole lot of healthy. There are great recipes in there that you and the kids can do together. Since veggies have been such a BIG issue in the past I wouldn't talk about it. Just have them help you make a meal, most of the recipes can be used for a stand alone meal, then sit down and eat. No talking, no cajoling, no threats, most of the time kids will eat what they make. If they don't, make another healthy meal next time. Keep it up, til they get hungry. Celebrate any new foods but do it after the fact, you don't want to call attention to the fact that they are eating their veggies. Try the Bagel face recipe; that is a favorite at our house, that one even got ME to try alfalfa sprouts!

  57. As someone who has had a eating disorder I strongly reccomend that you not make food an issue. Here is what I do with my boys (I have 5some are picky, some are not). I put the food on the table and that is dinner. They choose if they want to eat it or not. If the choose to not eat, I load up a plate, cover it and put it in the fridge. When they tell me they would like a snack before bed out comes their food. If they eat it all at dinner, they can make a healthy choice for a snack (usually fruit or veggies)Food should not be a control thing. Either you eat what is made or don't, that is the only choice you get. My oldest son is 15my youngest is 7. They are all fine!!
    Hope you figure out what works for you family!!

  58. Getting kids to eat is always a struggle. We have a rule at our house that they have to at least try (meaning put in mouth, chew, and swallow)everything on their plate. Once they have done that they have to stay at the table for a while and visit with us. Another idea is you could have two veggies and let them choose which veggie they want to eat. Then they feel like they are in control and the control battle is lessened. Giving kids small choices (ie, which shirt the blue or the green, milk or juice, things that aren't a big deal) all day long makes it so much easier when there is a big choice for you to be in control of.

  59. I used butcher paper to make a "game board" for our table. I covered it with a heavy plastic tablecloth and made up fun spaces, as well as numbered spaces on the board. We let the kids choose their own game pieces (so did Mom and Dad) and we roll a die during dinner, taking turns moving around the board. If they land on a numbered space, they have to take that many bites. If they land on an * they get to chose someone else to take a bite of food. It's become a fun, giggly way to eat dinner, because the winner doesn't have to help clean up dinner dishes!!

  60. It's food. Stop trying to punish it into them. I'm sure there are foods you don't like and would probably be pretty pissed if whoever was serving it punished you for having a preference.
    It takes kids an average of 10 to 30 times being exposed to a new food to be receptive to eating it. Put a small serving of everythinbg you are serving for dinner on their plates. Require them to try one bite of each thing before deciding whether or not they like it. If they do, great. If not, they tried it, so they don't need to finish a serving of something they tried & disliked (much like most adults wouldn't). Treat them and their palates with respect and consistently offer new foods. You'll figure out what they do and don't like, and when they learn that they're not going to be forced into eating something they don't like they won't fight you on trying new things.

  61. okay
    1. I am not good at either....good luck!
    2. I second what another reader said, the Jessica Seinfeld book is good, myself and some other mommy firends use it through the tough times! I have also started dehydrating our fruits and veggies, the kids seem to love it and so does the hubs..for example, zucchini chips for a snack, as much as they want..then if they try the greens at dinner they are good to go, I will still encourage them to eat them but I rest easy knowing their veggie intake is good to go....I have also used a food passport system. You put pics of the food/name and then they get a stamp in their passport= a reward for x amount of stamps.
    3. My favorite year was when I got a huge piece of posterboard, folded it like a card, then inside all the reasons I love him, little things and big like "you are a great father" "the way you tend to twitch as you are falling into a deep sleep" ha! good luck!

  62. The rule in my house was that if you weren't "hungry" and didn't eat dinner, that wasn't a problem. BUT if you got hungry later for dessert or a bed time snack, the dinner plate came out of the fridge and had to be eaten before anything else. This is also a big help with portion control. Too often we force kids to eat too much which can cause obesity problems later in life. Eat until full, not overstuffed.

  63. I have a few suggestions on the veggie issue. I very much agree with those who've said not to make it an issue. I liked the suggestion for fruits that have similar nutrients to veggies, and I actually give my kids a gummy supplement I've found at Trader Joe's called "Fruit & Veggie"-- it's supposed to have antioxidants from fruits and vege in it.

    I have a few recipes on my blog that my kids loved when they were in picky stages. One is for what we called "Pumpkin Piles"-- pumpkin is a super food and these were relatively sweet (the recipe is here: http://remarkablydomestic.com/2009/11/22/pumpkin-nuggets/). You could call them cookies to get them to try. I also tried to make things fun-- I have one recipe for "Coins" that is zucchini cut into circles, breaded and baked with some cheese (http://remarkablydomestic.com/2009/11/30/zucchini-coins/). Or "green" eggs and ham for breakfast-- I put spinach or kale into the eggs, and you really can hardly taste it (http://remarkablydomestic.com/2009/11/23/green-eggs-and-jam/). Maybe one of those will help? But most of all, I think you can't stress about it. The less important it seems to you, probably the easier time you'll have convincing them. :-)

  64. The best help for feeding children is to follow the wonderful advise of Ellen Satter: (http://www.ellynsatter.com/).
    Her books should be required reading of every parent and the Division of Responsibility works.

  65. Do you eat food you really dislike? I agree with Passionate Design, back off for awhile.
    I don´t know if your kids eat a lot of sweets, but why not bake carrot cake and use parsnip in muffins ie make veggies fun for you. :-)

  66. well , i'd like to tell my way to make my son to eat veggies..
    first of all i cook everything he likes with veggies. i mean veggie pizza, carrot cakes, meatballs with various veggies..you can add vegetables to every meal..at least i try frying (not really frying just make it look like) with egg or adding cheese on it..etc..and yoghurt helps a lot too, add it on the meal.
    secondly , my son loves animal, so i put his meal in his plate in shapes of animals..he eats piece by piece,also educational too..
    and lastly i made him a kings crown, which we glue animals on it, when he does his responsibilities perfectly..this works well, he shows his friends, proudly :)))
    i hope it helps..
    love your blog,
    best wishes

  67. 1.) Have you thought about buying a small paint canvas, 2 year old gets to put his/her foot in paint, step on canvas and frame. Ta-da! The cool thing is that every year you can do a new one and put the previous ones in a memory box.

    3.) My husband and I have never been big on celebrating valentine's day, but we do try to have a date night with in a few days of valentines day. Have you ever heard of this blog:
    It's JAM packed with fun dates to do with hubby!

    Hope this helps!

  68. For the vegetable dilemma, it might help to offer up some sort of choice. Take your kids to the grocery store with you and have them pick out a vegetable they want you to make. Be prepared for this to take some time - they may be slow to make up their minds. Hopefully it will get them excited to eat the veggie they got to choose! (Bonus points if they can help you prepare it.)

    Another idea is to let each child choose one veggie they don't have to eat. I haven't tried this, but it's what my mother-in-law did with her kids. So if the child chooses peas, they need to eat their veggies most nights, but they get to pass on nights when you're serving peas.

    The opportunity to make choices like these can be really empowering for children, and might put a more positive spin on the whole veggie issue.

    Finally, as someone who wasn't big one veggies as a kid, it always helped when my Mom cut up raw veggies really small. It sounds silly, but I'd still rather eat two really skinny carrot sticks versus one thick carrot stick.
    Hope you find something in here that helps!

  69. We all have certain things we really don't like. I won't eat mushrooms or blue cheese, and my husband HATES even the smell of peanut butter. We figured out early on that my son has issues with texture -- nothing mushy. So, almost no potatoes, no cooked carrots, etc. But over time and REPEATED exposure, he will eat cooked broccoli stems (but not the tops). Same with asparagus. And I give him raw carrots instead of cooked. My daughter's not a big fan of meat, but she'll eat a little bit of it. But as so many others have said, dinner is dinner. You don't have to eat it, but that's all there is. Over time, they will eat.

    We talk a lot about what we like and what we don't. I told them that as they grow, their taste buds grow too (it's true!), so things they didn't use to like, they might like now. And whenever they try something new and like it, we're like, "SEE! We're not deliberately trying to make disgusting food around here, folks!" Also helpful is to eat with kids (friends, cousins) who DO eat and like things. Peer pressure is a great motivator. They might not believe you when you say it's good, but they might eat it if their friends do.

  70. Great questions and answers! I just posted a link on my blog about sneaking veggies as I am currently experiencing the same problem with my five year old.http://meremade.blogspot.com/2011/01/undercover-veggies.html My solution, besides continually offering fresh veggies, is baby food! You can put it in everything and it totally goes unnoticed!

  71. It's been suggested already, but putting a large handful of spinach in a fruit smoothie really works. It does change the color, but you can't taste it. Greensmoothiegirl.com has some ideas for recipes using other veggies too and getting kids to eat their veggies. I think a big part of it is to also limit the amount of processed foods and sweets that kids get, their taste buds become so accostomed to an overload of flavors that the simple, natural flavors no longer have any appeal. I'm currently trying to cut WAY back on sugar myself and it's amazing how much better things like fruit or carrots or salad really do taste.
    Good luck! Love your blog!

  72. About the veggies -- I'm 61, and I love vegetables, but I STILL won't eat the foods my parents tried to force me to eat. To this day my sister eats about 4 foods, she won't even taste anything that gave her grief as a kid! So my advice is: Give up the battle. Try asking for one "no thank you" bite, they can try each food and if they don't like it, say "no thank you" and be done. If you make it a battle and if your kids are like me and my sister, you will not win!

    As for 2-year old crafts, I made shrinky dink key chains with my kids when they were small. I cut out that sheet of plastic, they scribbled, I punched a hole, baked, and added a chain. Or a tie with kid-painted fabric, that sort of thing. Clearly I've never been that creative!

  73. I am still wiping off the tears from not winning the prize. My life will be dull and label-less without it.

    sniff. sniff.

    As for the veggies-- well if all else fails give them some vitamin shake. I give my little guy Carnation Breakfast Essentials at two meals. It seems to be working so far.

    Valentines day is a great day for a movie and a pizza at home. If you want to make it big-- plan a trip for before or after the date. Cancun, Hawaii, New York? That sounds good to me!

  74. I am still wiping off the tears from not winning the prize. My life will be dull and label-less without it.

    sniff. sniff.

    As for the veggies-- well if all else fails give them some vitamin shake. I give my little guy Carnation Breakfast Essentials at two meals. It seems to be working so far.

    Valentines day is a great day for a movie and a pizza at home. If you want to make it big-- plan a trip for before or after the date. Cancun, Hawaii, New York? That sounds good to me!

  75. A nutritionist told me that fruits and veggies pretty much have the same vitamins. If they eat fruit, I'm not too worried. At our table, they need to take 3 bites of everything before they are excused.

    Also, I've noticed that when I do dinner in "courses" they do better: veggies first, then meat, then bread/rice/pasta (their favorite). I'm running around more, but when they are hungrier and want to get their roll, it works out better.

  76. For ? #3

    FIRST, if this has already been said sorry, I didn't have time to read all the prev. responses! Here is what works for ME and I hope for you as well:

    MOST importantly YOU should eat EXACTLY what they are eating. My son will have it no other way, he is 2 and eats any vegetable I put in front of him without sauce, butter, salt, etc. We sit down, I point out what he has, what I have, and they I say "Look, mommy is going to eat her broccoli, MMMmm, so good, can you take a bite?" and so on. Painful at times but he will copy as he is in big time parrot learning mode.

    Secondly, SMOOTHIES. My vegetarian friend makes "Spinach smoothies" with a slew of veggies (carrots, beans, etc) in them and then adds strawberries, yogurt, etc. They are somehow delicious and we all love them!

    Good luck!

  77. When my oldest was little I explained that the hulk gets his muscles from broccoli and spiderman eats a ton of red peppers. Since then he will eat just about anything! That has also helped with the younger ones because they look up to him. My 4 yo is also convinced that if he dosnt eat healthy he wont grow up. Like at all he is sure he will just stay a babie. He got that from school and now he wont eat more than 1 cookie!

  78. Hi!

    Lots of great ideas here! So many different approaches. Hope you find one that works for you.

    For what it's worth, I've tried a bit of everything. Some nights we'll have meals where the vegetables are hidden (pasta sauces, homemade sausage rolls/meatballs) and other nights they are out there loud and proud on the plate. I was aware that I wanted to win on 2 fronts: getting the veggies into them, and broadening their tastes. I'd try and do half a week of each.

    I tried a reward system too. But that was more for eating dinner with a good attitude, rather that eating it all. I was heartily sick of the whining and moaning. I said she didn't have to eat it all but she had to be responsible for eating what she could without being cajoled/bribed/threatened. She got a sticker on a chart, and then if she got a whole week of stickers she got to play with the Wiggles sticker book (I like to keep rewards fairly little - want to leave myself somewhere to go). It gradually phased itself out without any effort from me. Some night's we'd have a picnic, or were at a friends house and it just didn't happen. Dinner is far less stressful for me. And I'm trying to take a long view with the veggies thing. Don't want to dig my heels in too much if it's only going to cause more stubborn-ness...

    Don't know if this would work for your boys, but a friend renames her food in truly hideous ways, because it's the only way her boys will eat it - Pond Scum Pasta (pesto), Monster Toes (elongated chicken meatballs with a slivered almond as a toenail), Dingo Droppings (anything with kidney beans). I tried it with my daughter and she gazed at me blankly and went back to talking to her dad.

    Never-fail recipes for me are:
    Really thick soup, with bits of cheesy toast to dip. I give them one bit of toast at a time, and make sure it gets dipped before the next one is given.
    Zucchini slice, with whatever veggies I have on hand (corn, peas, mushroom, capsicum). http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/5546/zucchini+slice
    Pizza. My daughter loves putting all the toppings on, and doesn't want the construction phase to end, so she'll keep calling out veggies that I wouldn't have dreamed of putting on a pizza. Who am I to argue?

    Good luck!


  79. For #2 have you read the book I will not ever, never eat a tomato by Lauren Child? SO cute and funny. It's Charlie and Lola before they were syndicated. It may help to give you an idea. Good luck!

  80. Here's another response I received through e-mail:

    I am a family support worker in New Hampshire and I read your question about how to get your children to eat vegetables on your blog (I am not a "follower" because I have not figured out yet how to do that!). Anyway, may I recommend Ellyn Satter's website - you can just google her name and it should come up for you. She has written several books on nutrition and has some good articles on her website on the "division of responsibility" when feeding children.

    We often offer parenting classes in collaboration with our cooperative extension service. When feeding children is discussed and Ellyn Satter's information is presented, I can see that while her views are different from the old "sit there until you have eaten everything on your plate" approach that some of us grew up with, it makes a lot of sense and does not produce those awful power struggles over food.

    Hope that her information offers some "food for thought" and helpful advice for you.

  81. I've read a lot about this. Apparently the thing to do is offer a balanced, reasonably nutritional meal and if they eat it, great...if they don't, I guess they'll eat it if they're hungry enough. You can't make someone eat, and it just becomes a lose-lose situation.

    At our house, everything's better with ketchup!! And, there's no rude talk about the food allowed. Good luck!

  82. I find little ways through some of the meals during the week to hide the veggies. Like, for Spagetti Wednesdays I always buy a jar of baby food (beans, carrots, whatever) and mix it in with the sauce for my son. Looking forward to everyones suggestions! Oh! I just stumbled upon your site (through something on UCreate I'm sure) and I just loooove it! You are definitely on my "favorite's" list!

  83. Oh, I forgot to add, my son also doesn't get his full meal all together on one plate when I know there is something he doesn't like. He gets his veggies first, and when he is done with those he can have the meat or other items that aren't as important.

  84. OH MY GOODNESS!! I can't believe I missed this post in my blog list! THANK YOU!

  85. puree puree puree! I hide spinach in smoothies, squash in tomato soup, tomatos and carrots in chili. If its ground up small enough and there's enough spices, they never know they are eating heathly stuff. My food processor is my best friend. Eventually, there taste buds will change and they'll stop wanting the more processed food and actually start to like the taste of veggies without even knowing it. Give it a try.

  86. i've tried the "sit at the table until bedtime" thing. same result. right now they're eating squash soup at every meal until they can eat it before the timer runs out. if they fail to beat the timer, i set a second timer that they must beat or else they go to bed for the night. i really think that it's a valuable asset to eat what's put in front of you! i just wish it wasn't so hard for my kids to learn it :P

  87. In our house - dinner is made for everyone (no matter what.) When i make my menu for the week I do ask them if there is a meal they would really like and I try to include that meal once in the week. I try to make sure each meal has one or two things they really like and the other items they need to try or just eat without complaint. There have been 2 times that each of my children went to bed a little hungry - but it does not happen often. I also tell them that they need to eat by such and such time and if it isn't eaten - then the plate gets put away food and all. I also get a puzzle or a game out for the kid that is done so that the other has a little something to look forward to --- not a sweet treat.

    One little piece of advice - give bite size portions of 2 -3 veggies/grains. This way they can successfully complete the task! Keep doing it - it will get better!

  88. Rachael Ray show today has a piece on taste buds -- people are born with different types of taste buds, if your kid is what they call a 'super taster' your forcing them will only make them food-phobic because it really DOES taste different to them than it does to you. All the experts seem to agree you should back off and relax! Both my kids were veg haters as kids, both eat a wider variety of foods now, including all vegetables, than I do.

  89. One thing we do at our house is make up gross names for whatever it is they are eating. I have girls and they appreciate it so I am guessing your boys would like it even better!
    For instance, if we have carrots, I will tell the kids it's ogre fingers or zucchini could be lizard chunks. You get the idea. The other thing that sometimes works is getting them to eat the stuff they don't like first to "get it over with"!

  90. Veggie Ideas: 1)puree veggies into soup, spaghetti sauce, or even mashed potatos (like cauliflower); 2) make a "kid garden" and let them grow their own. (They might appreciate them more). 3)if they like salad (or slightly) have them pick out their salad dressing. Our kids picked "Vidalia Onion" vingerrette. Go figure. It was a sample at Costco and they loved it! 4)Find fun kid-appealling recipes that are simple. Like from
    5)try battered veggies and deep-fry them. 6)Picky tips: http://www.parenting.com/article/kid-friendly-veggies 7)grilling them gives them a different flavor all-together
    That's all I can think of for now. Good luck!

  91. I have a friend who was having the same problem getting her kids to eat a little healthier. A couple of weeks ago she started getting them involved in the meal planning. She lets each of them (there are 3 who are old enough to do it) pick one or two dinners. The rules are, you have to pick a main dish and she gets to help make it a little more healthy if it needs help, and rule 2 is that there has to be one fruit and one vegie in each meal. So far it's worked great! The kids are eating and she gets help with meal planning. Maybe some version of that will help.

  92. Hi there I just started reading your blog today and TOTALLY LOVE IT.

    I feel your pain when it comes to the vegetable issues. My son now 2 1/2 will NOT eat any veggies, Ive pleaded cried, punished, and let him go without eating as the doctor told me to.

    But the only real thing that has helped us has been a cookbook from Jessica Seinfeld, called "Deceptively Delicious". Surprisingly we all three eat the food and love it. And he doesn't know he is eating veggies. Takes me a little longer to prepare the food but he eats it. You basically are hiding pureed veggies in your meals, like carrot puree in muffins, and squash puree in grilled cheese. I have even put Beet puree in my meatloaf, and its a huge hit in our house.

  93. My son is anti-food. So to get him to eat anything we have had to be REALLY creative! Sometimes I get a bunch of chicken nugget BOXES, make dinner and serve it to him in those.
    We've had success using the "look, smell, touch, kiss, taste" method.
    1. Look at the food. Ask questions- what color is it? What food do you think it is? What do you think it might smell like?
    2. Smell the food. Big inhale. Parents do it too. Make sure it smells GREAT- they will think it smells good if you say it does.
    3. Touch the food. Go ahead and poke at it. What does the food feel like? bumpy? smooth? grainy? soft?
    4. Kiss the food. Pucker-up buttercup. Give the food a smooch. This gets them to put the food to their mouths, inhale, feel the texture on their lips.
    5. Tiny Taste. Let them stick out their tongues to taste it. Just a small taste. Then actually encourage JUST ONE bite.

    We've found this method to work pretty well. Sure there are still some foods that he won't eat. But that may absolutely be a personal preference thing.

  94. When I was a kid, my mother let us serve ourselves as much as we liked from the various dishes for dinner. The two rules were 1) you must eat everything on your plate, (or it shows up the next meal)and 2) you have to try a tiny bite of everything.

    It taught me the social grace of being able to eat a little of things I don't care for without making a big deal of it.

    For vegetables more specifically: how about this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6RWqwhn-Mc

    It is a fennic fox eating carrots! It would inspire me!

  95. For #2

    While I'm not a mother, I have come across some great tricks while babysitting other people's kids.

    Instead of making it a punishment for NOT eating the vegetables, why don't you make it a reward for EATING them. You could say that if they eat their veggies without making a fuss for a week, then on Saturday, you'll go and do an activity of their choosing. Or something like that. This way, the reward is spending time together, and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. You could even make a chart that keeps track of their whether they did it or not. I like the idea of rewarding good behavior, and with something that isn't food or candy.

  96. I found her blog a few wks ago & she makes snacks out of zucchinis.


  97. So I know I'm late weighing in on the veggies question, but I only JUST found your blog!!

    Here's what has worked for us:
    1. Bartering: For example, for every bite of broccoli, you get a bite of mac and cheese. They were going to get both anyway, at least this way you know some of the veggie got in there.
    2. Deception: I am a mashed potato fiend. I've started steaming cauliflower and mashing it in with potatoes. Tastes like I added sour cream, and now my 3 year-old thinks they taste "weird" when he has them at other people's houses! WIN!
    3. BRANDING: If it's good enough for Trix, it's good enough for you. I gather your little guys are into heroes, so maybe you slap a little phony label on the baby carrots that says "POWER STICKS!!" with a picture of Batman or something. Better, have your guy draft a letter to the Justice League asking them for stats, fav. veggies, what "powers" they get from from them, etc. Then, he gets a letter back saying carrots are Superman's favorite because they help him with super vision. Or maybe The Hulk likes broccoli because it's green like him and gives him strength. We do kind of the same thing with our dino-obsessed little guy. Broccoli makes him feel like a tall brachiosaurus eating trees. Good luck!!


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