Sometimes getting kids to eat their dinner is a real struggle. Learn 3 easy tips to get toddlers (and all kids) to eat more of their dinner without resorting to bribes!
I am so excited that today Malisa from Malisa Lieser Planning is here to talk to us about 3 EASY steps to get young toddler to eat more at dinner time (without resorting to bribes!) Malisa helps busy families take the stress out of mealtimes through real food meal planning so they can enjoy family dinners again. She started meal planning and food prepping out of necessity after her first child was born, but has since become passionate about eating real, whole foods and living a more natural life to keep her family healthy and happy. For over 4 years, Malisa has proven that healthy, delicious meals don’t need to be complicated or time consuming and are possible even for busy, active families.
One of the common issues I see from moms in Facebook groups, message boards and Instagram stories is getting young kids to eat the food they made for the family. Whether it’s your 2-year-old inserting her independence at every meal or your 5-year-old sticking his nose up at anything that’s green, we’ve all been there as parents. We just want what’s best for our kids, and part of that is making them healthy food, but when all they want to eat is mac & cheese, Goldfish and dry cereal, it can be a little maddening.
But there is hope!
There are ways to get your kids to eat more at dinner, stop making multiple meals for your family, and maybe even get the them to take a few bites of vegetables. It will take a little tough love, but in the end, you’ll have kids with a wider variety of acceptable foods, and they’ll be more likely to eat what you make for dinner without as much of a fight.
Here are my top 3 tips for getting your kids to eat more at dinner, or any meal, with less of a struggle!
Tip #1: Two-bite club:
Last year, my daycare provider gave us a book called Two Bite Club that was about 2 young cats (playing the role of a kid) who thought they didn’t like the food that was offered, but once they tried two bites, they realized they did like it. The story struck a cord with my older daughter and we still use it today as an incentive to get her to at least try the meal. She’s in this habit of turning up her nose before even trying it, but if we mention the two-bite club, she generally will take at least two bites (and usually more).
Tip #2: No alternatives:
Here’s where the tough love comes in. We make one meal each night, no exceptions. If they don’t eat it, then they don’t eat it. Kids won’t starve themselves, and I know that my kids eat plenty throughout the day, so if they barely touch dinner, I don’t sweat it (too much). When they know there is no other alternative, they will eat if they are truly hungry.
Tip #3: Give them an easy win:
We always plan to have something with the meal that we know they will like and eat, especially if we’re making a new dish or something with a little spice, which can turn off my older daughter. A roasted vegetable is almost always a win, or quinoa/brown rice, or some kind of sauce to dip the food in. This way, we know that at least they will eat a little bit off their plate and not go to bed on an empty stomach.
Check out these other resources designed to make your life easier!
- How to Make One Meal to Feed the Whole Family – Learn how to make one meal for the whole family to enjoy – from baby and toddler to adult! Enjoying a meal together as a family is an important part of your day – and learning how to cook one meal that satisfies everyone makes life easier, quicker, and cheaper.
- 5 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier – Easy and actionable tips to help you be your best!
- Mom Bag Essentials – Learn what’s necessary to keep on hand!