Ed. note: this post was originally published in September 2019, but we wanted to bring it back out of the archives in hopes that it inspires you with some fun ways to get your little ones excited about meal times. There are so many great recommendations from you guys in the comments, so make sure you check the bottom of the post for some more ideas from our fellow mamas… It takes a village!

Before having kids, I remember dreaming about my future adventurous little eaters who would gobble their veggies, savor sushi, and slurp pad thai with relish. No fish nuggets in our house! And I would never stoop to “hiding” vegetables in their meatballs and smoothies — mine would eat them whole and happily.

My strategy? Simply expose our kids to all the foods that Adam and I eat and love, and if at first they don’t do salad… try, try again.

Seven years in as a mom, and all I have to say to my former self is: HAHAHAHAHA. You were such a dreamer. Turns out, kids are actual humans with taste buds and preferences that are totally individual and all their own, and mine (at least at this point in their lives) happen to be skewing extremely picky about the foods they choose to eat. And it’s unpredictable: one day, cucumbers with a little sea salt are a major hit, and the next time I serve them they’re “too slimy and gross.” Le sigh.

In theory, I’m a proponent of not forcing kids to eat anything they don’t want to eat, and instead presenting them with a well-balanced meal. They can reap the natural consequences of not eating should they choose to skip dinner (ie, they’ll be hungry.) But like so much parenting advice, it sounds far simpler than it is to actually put into practice, so (in my desperation), I thought I’d share a few problems I’ve been running into to see if any of y’all have advice.

So, let me paint you a little picture of an average weeknight at our house lately. Our family comes home from a long day of work, school, and after-school activities, and I spend thirtyish minutes making a healthy and delicious dinner. I wrangle everyone to the dinner table, where Henry (4) usually wrinkles his nose and says “Where’s my taco?” (He’s currently really into a corn tortilla with beans, rice, and cheese, which I’m fine with maybe 50% of the time, but c’mon — every night?!)

When I explain that I’ve made a different dinner tonight, and that he may choose what he’d like to eat but he must try everything, he either refuses outright or eats maybe one crumb of his salmon, one pasta noodle, or maybe a near-microscopic leaf from his broccoli floret. Then he pushes his chair away, says “I’m done,” and leaves the table.

Sound familiar to anyone else? Okay, so here are my current problems with this scenario, in no particular order:

  1. I feel terrible wasting so much food day after day, but I don’t want to be a human garbage disposable eating all my kids’ leftovers, and heaven knows that if they didn’t eat it the first time, they’re not going to eat it the next day.
  2. Henry shows up 30 minutes later saying, “Mommy, I’m starving!!!!!” And considering he’s a growing 4-year-old boy, I believe him! I know that some experts recommend teaching kids a lesson by making them go to bed hungry, but I don’t have the heart, especially when he insists that he tried his dinner and did. not. like it!!
  3. Life is stressful and busy enough as it is; I really don’t have the bandwidth to make multiple dinners for each member of the house. Sometimes I can make a more kid-friendly version of whatever Adam and I are having (ie skip the seasoning or the heat, etc), but often, he won’t eat that, either.

Outside of all those practical considerations, I really don’t want FOOD to become a major source of conflict and stress in our home. Not only have I read that the habits and messaging we get around food as children follow us into adulthood; I want to model for my children that food is something to be enjoyed and savored, not something to stress about or eat because “we have to.”

So, my questions stands: What do you do when your kids refuse to eat dinner?

Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

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Comments (44)
  1. 1
    kelly September 16, 2019 at 8:57 am

    I have a 15 year old and two 11 year olds. They eat just about anything now, but that wasn’t always the case. My one piece of advice is to always have something on their plate that they do like that you are happy if that’s all they eat. I usually made sure it was a part of our meal so I wasn’t doing short order cooking.

  2. 2
    Franziska September 16, 2019 at 9:11 am

    My thought would be… maybe this has all very little to do with the food ( as in my opinion your approach sounds perfectly fine – how is he eating elsewhere?). Might it not just be an outlet for others things? He might even feel, that food/family dinner etc. is important to you and that he gets attention from you, when he is not eating. And I am not saying he is intentionaly stressing you, but it is a way of showing discomfort.
    My personal experience with my two kids is, that often times when something like that became a problem , it had much more to do with how stressed i was and the kids where sort of reacting to my behavior.

    • Camille Styles September 18, 2019 at 6:31 am

      Franziska, I think you’re very insightful. We have so many other challenges with Henry asserting his will and melting down if he can’t control a situation — and you’re right that this could (at least partially) be an area where he wants the control be refusing to do what we obviously want him to do. Great food for thought on how I might be able to incorporate those ideas into the way we’re “presenting” dinnertime. Thank you!

      • judith September 24, 2019 at 3:51 pm

        In that case, maybe let him plan two meals a week. and if tacos, that’s okay. but, protein included. salmon, steak, pork, chicken. he gets to choose. and u work together on the sides. he can also on those nights maybe help in the prep. even, just to keep u company and “supervise” — esp w/ the protein. 🙂 Bon Appetit!

  3. 3
    Jenny September 16, 2019 at 10:17 am

    I have had a similar problem with my two younger kids- 2 and 4. They are both generally good eaters but can be finicky and when tired, they eat less well. Our evening routine is a two course dinner. First course is dinner- whatever we make that evening. Second course is served right after or right before bed. It is healthy things I know they will reliably eat so their stomach is full at bedtime. Usually it’s apples or bananas and carrots or avocado sandwiches. I always keep these in my fridge and the kids know it’s these snacks or nothing. I purposely get easy foods to get, store and prep.

  4. 4
    Amy September 16, 2019 at 10:30 am

    My little one is only 1, so we haven’t run into this yet. However, my mom was a champ at handling food issues! If we refused dinner, she would simply wrap our plate with saran wrap, stick it in the fridge, and let us go play. Of course, we came back a few hours later, STARVING. She would reheat our plate in the microwave, and 99% of the time, we would devour it. Her philosophy was just that kids aren’t great at recognizing their own hunger cues, and as the French would say, hunger is the best seasoning. 🙂 My siblings and I are all healthy, adventurous eaters. We also had a family garden and were involved in food prep at very young ages (like, preschool), which I think went a long way to help, too.

    • Camille Styles September 17, 2019 at 6:57 am

      This is so helpful — full of kind and solid advice. I do think that sometimes, Henry sits down at the table and just isn’t that hungry because he had an afternoon snack 2 hours before. I am trying this. Thank you Amy!

      • Amy September 17, 2019 at 8:10 am

        You’re so welcome! My mom herself was a superrrrr picky eater as a kid and dinnertime was always a battlefield between her and my grandmother. She swore not to let that happen with her own kids, and she succeeded! You’re doing a great job, and I know your kiddos will appreciate your example of healthy dinners one day 🙂

  5. 5
    Magali September 16, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    In France we say You taste! Tu goutes! My children like mussels and brocolis ( not at the same time ) ?

    • Camille Styles September 17, 2019 at 6:56 am

      Oh, the French way! I am so in awe of the way that French kids really do seem to eat everything — and your post is reminding me that I’ve been meaning to go back and re-read Bringing Up Bébé! Until then, I’ll be trying, “Tu goutes!” 😉

      • Tara Rasmus September 17, 2019 at 7:03 pm

        I am very much in this boat with you, Camille! But back to the French; I read French Kids Eat Everything awhile ago, and it was likewise a really great read that goes more in-depth around eating. My biggest takeaways were being careful with snacking (as already discussed above), offering vegetables first, and just not freaking out if they’re not hungry/refuse to eat. Toddlers/little kids are TOUGH, man. Jack is generally a great eater, but he is hard in the NO NO I DONT WANT IT phase, and I’m trying to just keep my cool and remember that he’s just flexing his control muscles and enjoying saying no. It’s really hard to strike the balance between being firm and being chill, but I’m working on it! Please report back with any findings lol xoxo

        • Camille Styles September 18, 2019 at 6:26 am

          Thanks mama, this is so good to hear!! The “vegetables first” concept is a good one. It’s amazing how we need these constant reminders of lessons we’ve learned before… so easy to fall back onto bad habits.

  6. 6
    W Cleve Barkdull September 16, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Well in the first place, I find it disturbing that you’re allowing a four year old boy to determine his own fate when he doesn’t even know what the word means. Second, and again forgive me for being old-fashioned, but, this is one of those times when the definitions of discipline and punishment become excruciatingly evidence.
    Having raised two sons who turned out exceptionally well even by my lopsided definition. I will be the first to Grant the fact that those two definitions are as malleable as your 4 year olds taste buds. That notwithstanding I will make this suggestion; sit down on Saturday evening or Sunday morning whichever your family has available and make out a menu for the week. you and your husband should determine the ingredients for which dinners will be made and then allow your children the choice of recipes.
    This doesn’t always solve the problem but, if the young gentleman prefers hunger over his own choices well that sounds like his problem not yours.

    • Camille Styles September 17, 2019 at 6:55 am

      Thanks for these thoughts — while I agree that it’s a parent’s job to lead and set boundaries, I also believe that even 4-year-olds are independent humans deserving of respect. It’s hard for me to reconcile that belief with this thought: “I find it disturbing that you’re allowing a four year old boy to determine his own fate when he doesn’t even know what the word means.”

      I’m sure that your sons turned out incredible and that you were a great parent, but I’m afraid that my own parenting style has to incorporate more empathy. I don’t believe that wielding punishment for not eating a certain food is the route we want to go in our home.

    • okboomer May 16, 2021 at 2:52 am


  7. 7
    Stephanie September 16, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    I completely understand. I have 2 little boys – 8 and 5 years old – and not only are they both picky eaters but there aren’t a ton of foods that they BOTH enjoy (aside from oh, you know – chocolate). Dinner is often a struggle so I try to make things that they can sort of put together on their own – like a taco bar, noodle bar, or make your own pizza. This gives them a bit more control over what they are eating but I still control the ingredients, so I can make sure there are some healthy proteins and veggies included.

    My only other advice is to keep the different foods coming – even if he’s only taking the tiniest of bites. You never know which time they are trying it when cucumbers with salt will become awesome again. You’ll win some and lose some, but keep trying. You are not alone in this struggle.

    • Camille Styles September 17, 2019 at 6:48 am

      Thank you Stephanie, such an encouragement! It’s funny you mention this idea of “make your own”, because the one food lately that Henry absolutely LOVES is when I give him a tortilla with different taco toppings and let him fill it up himself. I hadn’t thought about the fact that maybe the reason he loves it is that he’s getting to control exactly what and how much goes into it… Definitely want to try with other “make your own” type dinners and see what happens. Noodle bar is a great one… maybe rice bowls, too!

    • Tara Rasmus September 17, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Such a good idea! I also try to give my toddler choices when they’re available; like do you want eggs or yogurt? Tomatoes or cucumbers? It’s like, “you don’t get to decide to never eat vegetables ever, but you can choose which ones you want to eat!” So choices/flexibility within boundaries 🙂

  8. 8
    diana September 16, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Can’t help too much with the pickiness – though we do have a “No Thank You” bite rule. Take one bite (with no fuss) and if you say “No thank you”, you don’t have to finish it. But as for the food waste guilt, we found a compost service. They pick up food scraps every week, take it off to compost (great for smaller places or folks who don’t want to deal with the hassle) and then you can request fresh soil when you need it or donate to a community garden. If you don’t have one in your area – talk someone into starting one!

    • Camille Styles September 17, 2019 at 6:46 am

      Thanks Diana, awesome idea with composting! And I like the “no thank you” policy — it’s like establishing a baseline standard for kindness and manners, no matter what the food situation is.

  9. 9
    RL Maiden September 17, 2019 at 1:03 am

    ‘A little of everything’ in our house meant a small spoonful of each item, not a flake or a single noodle. Also, letting him know that this is dinner, he doesn’t have to eat more than that small spoonful of each item, but there won’t be another, different, meal forthcoming (though you might save some for him in case he changes his mind–don’t make this a punitive thing). He won’t starve overnight if he doesn’t eat more, and he isn’t ”starving,” so stick to your guns. Include something on the menu he will like, if possible. Getting him involved in making dinner can be helpful as it gives him ‘ownership’ over what is being served–and more if you make a fuss (“Wow, child, this dish you made is scrumptious!”). My dad’s trick was to tell us that we just thought we didn’t like it because we didn’t know how to eat it the right way–then he would invent a method, “First of all, make sure the squash has the right amount of butter/salt/pepper on it. Next put it on your fork then place it, not shove it in, but place it gently on your tongue. Don’t chew! Instead, squash it up against the roof of your mouth, let the butter spread across all of it, then, oly then, swallow. Isn’t that amazing?” Yeah. It was. I still love squash.

    • Camille Styles September 17, 2019 at 6:45 am

      Wow, your dad sounds like an amazing, creative guy… I LOVE his approach and definitely want to take a cue from him!

    • Kathleen Mahoney September 24, 2019 at 2:32 pm

      I love this!

  10. 10
    Meredith September 17, 2019 at 5:24 am

    My son at four sounded a lot like Henry, except there was no way he would eat beans in his taco “too squishy”
    You could try to make sure there is always one thing on their dinner plate that you know will be a hit. So if you are having salmon (which you know they don’t like) offer a grain or vegetable or fruit option that they typically enjoy, though I know that can be a moving target.
    My kids seemed to appreciate that I was making the effort for them, and they seemed more willing to take a decent-sized bite of the salmon in that situation.
    We also had a rule that you had to stay at the dinner table until everyone was done eating to enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes, my kids would quietly pick at something they had said they didn’t care for.
    Keep offering! My son, now 16, definitely gobble his veggies, savors sushi, and slurps pad thai with relish. But, he still would rather not have beans on his taco!

    • Camille Styles September 17, 2019 at 6:44 am

      Thanks Meredith, I like this advice of having one thing that you know is appealing — I think it can be overwhelming for H when he looks down at his plate and doesn’t see anything that looks edible to his eye. 😉 Also love the rule of staying at the table until everyone was done eating. I really want to start this tradition now, that dinner is a place where we gather as much for spending time together as for the food.

  11. 11
    Andrea September 17, 2019 at 11:04 am

    This all sounds so familiar with my picky 8 year old who’s below the growth curve! ? I can’t make him go hungry. Try a little Lawry’s seasoned salt? My son hates red sauce and even butter/Parmesan on pasta… but butter and just a little sprinkle of Lawrys? He gobbles up a huge bowl of it. I also do the “second dinner” before bedtime if he’s hungry. He has nut allergies but can have almonds, so I’ll blend some almond butter into a banana smoothie with a little cocoa powder. Good luck! I’ll be checking back on this comments section myself!

  12. 12
    Asha September 17, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Goodness! Does this sound familiar! My second son sounds just like Henry. Solidarity sister! Both my boys can be selective. And I don’t like making separate meals. So I offered to compromise. I have them choose (from what we have) a vegetable I’ll cook they way they like (roasted “French fries” ( literally roasted potatoes but “a rose any other name” if you will), air fried mushrooms or Brussels sprouts, etc. I’ll also mix purées into sauces bc I am not above doing what I can. I’ll add pumpkin or carrot purée to tomato sauce for noodles, cauliflower purée to dal or kichadi, etc.
    They watched Pete the Cat on Netflix There’s an episode about this with a great song called “The 3 bite rule.” That became their own reminder at least give new foods a go.
    When all else fails we whip up some “Nice Cream” for any meal or snack! (Search Nice Cream, weelicious).
    I’m sure you’ll find some ways that work best for your family! I think it’s great you expose them to different foods. Thanks for opening up such a needed discussion.

    • Camille Styles September 18, 2019 at 6:28 am

      This is so full of great ideas, Asha! I love the idea of adding purées to your sauces — and YUM – I bet it also adds such great flavor! I think we need to download that Pete the Cat episode this weekend. 😉

  13. 13
    Dianna September 17, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    I have a picky 5 year old and have a similar thing that I do. I always put something in or on the dish I know she loves. Or, like you, make a kid friendlier version of my meal – “deconstructed grain bowl”. If she REALLY refuses, SHE can go make herself a PBnJ. I don’t do the short order cooking and I don’t want food to be a problem in our home…
    It bums me out for sure when she refuses a dish that she liked last week and that I worked hard on…but I swallow it and tell her to make a PBnJ. At least she doesn’t go to bed hungry!

  14. 14
    Caleigh September 17, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Oh, you are so not alone. My husband is a picky eater and my 5 year old is as well. We have an established menu for the weekdays that is mostly in place to help us with food costs but every few days my kids, who are 5 and 3, change their minds on what they like. About a year ago I came across an article a child psychologist wrote about fussy eating in children and the suggestion was, when the kid(s) say “I don’t like that!” (Without even trying it yet) to say something along the line of “Well, you only have to have one bite. If you don’t have one bite you will go straight to bed. Do you really want to ruin your whole evening because you won’t have one bite?” So I tried it the next day at suppertime and lo and behold, it worked! I have only had to put both kids to bed maybe once and halfway through putting their pajamas on they changed their minds, went back to the table and had one bite. They understand that I mean what I say. Sometimes they’ll have one bite and devour the whole plate, other times they’ll have one bite and leave the plate practically full. But as long as they try one bite of each food on their plate, that’s all I ask.

  15. 15
    Andrea September 17, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    This all sounds very familiar! I have a picky 8 yr old below the growth curve – I can’t let him go hungry! He has nut allergies too, so there’s one less option for protein and healthy fats. Maybe try Lawry’s seasoned salt? My son doesn’t like red sauce or butter/cheese on pasta, but butter and Lawry’s… he’ll gobble down a large bowl of pasta. We do the “no thank you bite” too and I’ll also do “second dinner” for him if he’s hungry before bed. Almonds are the one nut he can have, so I’ll mix some almond butter into a banana smoothie with cocoa powder. Good luck! I’ll be checking back in on this post for ideas too!

    • Camille Styles September 18, 2019 at 6:24 am

      What a sweet and compassionate approach to your son’s specific needs, Andrea! I’ll try Lawry’s out on Henry & report back. 😉

  16. 16
    Molly September 18, 2019 at 8:00 am

    I’ve been following a child nutritionist on Instagram lately, and she has some really interesting ideas about this! For one thing, she talks about the pointlessness of “just one bite.” She just says that one bite has basically no nutritional content and that it easily turns dinner into a battle of the wills. I get that and agree in theory, but also am telling my 15 month old at most meals “Please, please take one bite” while she points at an applesauce pack and screams “THAT.”

    • Camille Styles September 18, 2019 at 1:18 pm

      Haha, definitely one of those ideas that may sound better “in theory” than in practice…

  17. 17
    Kristina September 18, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    My kids, 11 and 8 now, used to love chicken nuggets and Mac and cheese and could have lived off of it forever. Before they started elementary we started to make pasta dishes with only one visible veggie that they could just pick out if they didn’t like it. It really helped with waste and not forcing them to try so many new things at every meal.

    I also noticed that when, for example, I would make an old fashioned roast in the crock pot that they would barely touch it. I started serving that alongside their beloved Mac for several nights in a row and I think the exposure really helped them to grow accustomed to the flavor/texture and every night I would notice them eating a little bit more. When I started to rely more on those classic meals we ate growing up that they really responded well! For us I think the most important thing is the eating together at the table. You are such a great mom that I have no doubt all the little pieces will fall into place and they will have your same foodie palate in no time 🙂

    One interesting thing that I never saw coming was when they started school they always wanted to buy their lunch and would actually try all the food on their tray. Maybe peer pressure, maybe just plain hunger and lack of other options, but they got exposed to way more veggies and dishes through the school lunch program than they would have at home without a fight.

    They are both wonderful eaters now, love veggies, gobble up everything and ask for seconds. Just be patient and it will all work out! Good luck!

  18. 18
    Kate September 18, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    With two young kids who also waver between healthy, adventurous eating (“Why, yes you can have more cucumbers and hummus!”) and the more typical toddler appetite (“I want CHEERIOOOOOS!!), I have developed a rule that I’ll only offer two meals. The first is what my husband and I are eating. I serve it without much fuss and hope for the best. If my kids try it and don’t like it, or even refuse to take a bite, I’ll wait a bit and make them something easy I know they’ll eat (peanut butter sandwich, cereal, etc.) so they don’t go to bed hungry. If they don’t eat that, then tough luck!

    I love food, but I think there’s a lot of pressure on us as parents these days to produce mini gourmands. We all need to just relax and let our kids be kids!

  19. 19
    Lauren September 20, 2019 at 11:13 am

    I don’t have kids of my own, but my niece is quite the picky eater. When she stays with us, however, her parents are shocked at what we’ve gotten her to eat. I have her put on an apron and get out a step stool, and she helps me make dinner. She likes to stir, measure ingredients, sprinkle spices, and set the timer. She likes to taste while we’re cooking and declare, “Needs more spices!” When we sit down at the dinner table, we tell her what a great cook she is, and how everything tastes amazing! She might only eat half of her vegetables, but nothing is looked at in disgust, or untouched.

    Maybe it’s a case of her being polite to us because we aren’t her parents, but I think she responds to being involved in the meal. Instead of having a plate set in front of her and telling her she only has to try it, like we’re expecting her to dislike it.

  20. 20
    Jan September 24, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Time to teach him how to make a few sandwiches, nut butter, turkey, hummus with veggies etc. And let him know he’s free to make his own dinner if yours isn’t his cup of tea.

  21. 21
    Christian September 24, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    As a mom of 2 kids aged 13 & 10 I have a couple of ideas for you to think about:
    1.) Instead of an after school snack, do an early dinner (4 pm) and then light snack before bed. It’s shocking the difference this makes in the quality calories to empty calories food ratio.
    2.) Four is really young for serene family dinner- especially for boys. Maybe with having a girl first, you have had a different experience with family dinner working younger, but really I assure its really normal for 4 year olds, and especially boys, to not be able to sit for it and behave/eat. I PROMISE you it gets so much easier.
    3.) Family games at the table! Try to distract kids from the pressure of how much they are/ aren’t eating by playing fun games. Take turns going around the table telling “Two truths and a lie” – each person has to come up with two things that are true from their day and one lie- then everyone guesses which is the lie. Or “name one person you were kind to today and who can you be kind to tomorrow” (you can learn a lot about their worlds this way). Another one – “Lets each name one way we failed/messed up today and I’ll go first.” (Failure is ok and it’s important!)
    4.) BRANDING. Salmon is “pink fish.” Brussel sprouts are magical fairy leaves. Chicken pot pie is “Muscle Building Pie”, ect.
    5.) Tacos are life. And at age four, I’d say tacos and a gummy vitamin are A+++ parenting.

  22. 22
    Mara September 24, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Some thoughts from a (young) grandmother: If the kids eat at least two out of three meals of the day, it is fine; kids need a lot less food in the stomach then adults, so if they have a few tablespoons of a few foods that should fill them up; for a little bit older kids who won’t try food, I would always say “What if you never tried chocolate” – that would almost always get them to at least take a bite of a new food and every once in a while they would like it.

    Also, try to get the kids involved in cooking. They are usually quite proud of having helped and what to eat what they helped make.

    I think some people posted great suggestions, such as having one food on the plate that you know they love along with the other food and having a good conversation/playing games during dinner. No questions about how was your day at school.

  23. 23
    Nicole September 24, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    No kids but lots of nephews and I’ve seen them go through all of the eating phases – won’t touch anything (I’ve fed them only pickles for dinner once ?) to eating anything and everything in front of them. Just wanted to say I am so thankful for this conversation (and your bravery in what could have been such a controversial topic!) and have so much to learn before we have kids but I’m so thankful for all these wise mamas, aunts, and grandparents who chimed in here!

  24. 24
    Cortney Zieky September 25, 2019 at 6:34 am

    First let me say, you are doing an awesome job!! The fact that you are making it a priority to provide a Family dinner ritual, where everyone enjoys one meal is beautiful and sadly increasingly rare in our generation. 
    Family dinner is not always easy… Many things are hard before they are easy.  

    I can totally empathize with you on the struggle to feed toddlers! I try to offer home cooked, nourishing meals on most nights as well. My son (7 yo) has always been pretty mild tempered about meal times, BUT my daughter (just turned 5 last week) likes to make meal time spicy with her temperament! {She’s a 4 on the Enneagram and has BIG Emotions all the time!}

    Here are a few tactics that have helped us! Some nights we now have magical family dinners, but we still have slip ups all the time…so it’s not a perfect formula :). I hope you find them useful for Henry!

    1. I started to have ask her to help me! I take her with me to the grocery store and farmers’ market when possible and use it as a teachable moment about where food comes from and what is in season. 

    2. I give her a job in the Kitchen to do beside me while I’m cooking… Even if I just “made up a job” to keep her busy. She had a lot of fun and loves learning about the ingredients and chopping with her kid safe knife. 

    3. I enrolled her in a cooking class!! She is super creative and has found cooking to be a fun, artful outlet. AND it lets another be an advocate for healthy eating & incorporating fruits and veggies into recipes, meals and snacks.  4. I started limiting the afternoon snack to a fruit or veggie (apple cookies, carrots/hummus). Especially if the “good stuff” wasn’t eaten in her lunch box. This way she was truly hungry for dinner. 

    5. If she ate a good lunch and did partake in an afternoon snack, sometimes she isn’t has hungry for dinner.. and that’s totally fine! A good breakfast, a good lunch and a few bites of dinner is a winner in my book. {Toddlers have small tummies and can really only handle protein portions the size of their fists}.

    For my son, he is SUPER active so getting him to sit still and eat and finish his meal is the challenge.. For him I often leave his dinner plate out, well after I’ve cleaned up dinner. He will always come back and devour it after another round on the basketball court. 

    I think the more we can teach kids the importance about nourishing their bodies for growth,  development and activity. The better! My son idolizes Tom Brady so I use his healthy diet as a model to emulate sometimes… “I bet you Tom eats his fish taco”. I know you want to be able to thrive on the field like he does 🙂

    My daughter is hoping for long hair like Rapunzel, so we talk about how eggs are a good catalyst for hair growth and now she gobbles eggs up almost every morning! 
    It’s all about finding their motivation sometimes 🙂



Kristen Kilpatrick