Dealing With Picky Eaters (And It’s Our Fault That They Were Picky)

When I was growing up, every night at dinner we had meat, salad, and a vegetable of some kind. We also drank a glass of milk. It wasn’t an option, and if we didn’t eat, there was no dessert. This is the way things should be.

At our house now, things were very different until recently. Jason works a crazy schedule, and so a lot of times I would prepare dinner well before dinnertime, and the kids would end up eating a hot dog or chicken nuggets instead of the dinner I made. It was easier than fighting with them, and it was also easy to prepare. Or sometimes I would make a meal the kids couldn’t eat (because it was too spicy or something) and so I would allow them to eat something else.

Then it got to the point that they didn’t want to eat anything healthy we put in front of them. They flat out refused. They got used to eating meals of convenience and would rather have french fries than steamed broccoli. And the worst part about it was that it was all.my.fault.

Don’t give in, they’ll eat when they are hungry enough, people would tell me. Quit offering them snacks and junk – they’ll eventually eat. And guess what? They did. We made them take one bite of everything on their plates and if they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to eat it…but they didn’t get snacks if they didn’t eat. Food magically started disappearing off their plates. They might not have been happy about having baked chicken for dinner instead of a hot dog, but they would eat it.

Until one night Jason messed things up again. I forgot what I had made – was it meatloaf? – and Ethan threw a fit and didn’t want to eat it. Make him something else. There was no way I was going to start making different meals for each kid. When I was young, we ate what my mom made or we didn’t eat. When Jason was young, his mom would make them separate meals if they didn’t like the main one. There was NO WAY I was going to get into that habit.

But Jason started making Ethan PB&J sandwiches instead. And guess what? Ethan started expecting it. This went on for a few months until I finally had had enough of the mealtime whining and battles. We went through the process of making them eat what we put in front of them again. And every night, there’s a protein, veggie and some kind of fiber or carb on everybody’s plate.

I want them to learn to eat healthy and enjoy it. I want them to make smart food choices. Now I’m not saying they don’t eat chicken nuggets and fries anymore…they do, and often. But along with those things they also eat fruit or veggies, too. We are teaching them portion control and that they can eat whatever they want in moderation.

Thanks to Tyson’s 100% All Natural Chicken Nuggets, now you don’t have to choose between making your kids happy and feeding them balanced meals.

But I’m curious, how do you ensure your child maintains a balanced diet? Join the conversation and Tyson will select a winner and donate $500 in the winner’s name to a local food bank!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson Nuggets. The opinions and text are all mine.
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