I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. As a new parent I had so many grand aspirations for my kids. I remember saying “My children will eat everything I give them.”, “My kids will love their veggies!”
Seriously, how insane was I? There came a point where we were just happy Mary Harper would eat. Period.
We tried very hard in the beginning to feed her only what we wanted her to eat and what we thought were healthy options for her. It became difficult when we would visit family, especially around the holidays. We kept hearing “Just a little bit won’t hurt her.”, “You ate this way as a kid and you turned out just fine.”
There’s nothing more degrading as a parent, especially a new parent, when you are being questioned about your parental choices and decisions. It can be difficult. As she has gotten older and now that she is undergoing chemotherapy, we’ve really buckled down on what we eat as a family.
Food plays such a crucial role in our health. Food can be your medicine and quite frankly, why wouldn’t you want to treat your body with the best medicine??
Lately, Mary Harper has had a food awakening. She’s been trying new things and loving them! It wasn’t easy. She wouldn’t try some foods if I called them by their actual name. So I had to get creative.
For example, recently I introduced zucchini noodles and carrot noodles. Those names didn’t go over too well with her. She had already associated those words with foods she wouldn’t even try. She even went through a phase where she literally wouldn’t try anything that was green. But then I changed the name around a bit to make the food more appealing to her. And y’all. IT. WORKED.
Zucchini noodles became known as “green noodles” and carrot noodles became known as “orange noodles”. Simple names, but she loves them! Now y’all, I had to sell it. When it came time for her lunch one day, I got all excited about her trying green noodles. She became ecstatic and couldn’t wait to try them. I let her see them first and she smiled and said “Mommy! Those noodles are your favorite color!” Hook, line, and sinker. She loves pointing out our favorite colors in every day things.
As a parent it is basically a requirement that you act a fool sometimes to get your kids on board with new things. So far we are having success. Check out some other tips I have for getting your kids to try new foods! They may not all work for you, but these are just what I have found that helps.
Tips for getting your kids to eat their veggies (or other foods they don’t want to try)
- change the name of the food to something more exciting – do you like eating food that sounds like it came from the backside of a troll? No.
- try foods that have their (or your) favorite colors in them – Mary Harper loves the color pink. Not a lot of food has pink in it, so we had a discussion about different shades of pink (red and purple) and that opened the doors a bit. She loves eating foods that are green or blue. Those are our favorite colors. 🙂
- make a game out of it – Mary Harper likes to see how many colors of food she can put on a plate
- bribe them – yes we resort to this quite a bit. We bribe her with our homemade vegan sugar cookies so I don’t feel too bad! She also loves frozen strawberries as her treat and that works for me! 🙂 Think of something they would love to do more of even just for 5 more minutes. MH loves stickers and that has worked in the past too!
- add a little healthy sibling competition – we have a month old daughter named AJ. She is starting to eat some of these foods as well. If MH is reluctant to try something, but AJ loves it, I use that to get MH to at least try it. usually she ends up loving the food anyway. She’s just dramatic. This method was successful recently when she tried chickpeas and avocado.
- let them play with their food – YES. YES. YES. Avocado was a success when she could play with it. She loves playing with her veggie noodles too!
- make smoothies – MH loves making smoothies with me. Either sneak in some spinach or kale, or tell them to choose one new veggie to try. If you add enough fruit they won’t even taste the veggies.
- let them see you eat the same foods – super important! Don’t be a hypocrite. You can’t get mad at your child if they are refusing to eat their veggies if you do not eat yours. Have fun with it!
- let them see you try new foods – if they see you trying new foods they are more than likely going to be willing to try new foods as well. Remember, your reaction is important. Try not to spit your food on the floor. Kids see everything. They are always watching.
- discuss with them the health benefits of their food – I realize that this method may seem a bit far fetched. But it works for Mary Harper. She understands that she is sick and that certain foods will help heal her body and fight her cancer. We have done a ton of talking with her about this. She understands quite a bit about cancer and how it grows due to the foods we eat. (Proud mommy moment)
These are just some of the ways I have been successful in getting MH to try new foods. They may not all work for you, but you’ll never know if you don’t give it a shot. Good luck! 🙂