Talking with other moms is a great way to vent, sure, about everything from potty training struggles to bedtime battles — and one of my favorite topics, of course, is what can I get my kid to eat??!
I've talked with lots of friends about the spitting out of peanut butter and jelly, string cheese, chicken and applesauce, and it's comforting to hear that mine is not the only child who will chow down on strawberries at breakfast but won't touch another one for three days. And, of course, on the flip side, when I do break down and buy a box of junky crackers, they're all he'll ask for between meals. Kids' quirky food loves make us laugh out loud — "meat," beans straight out of the can, freeze-dried peaches — while at the same time we'd give anything for them to enjoy our home-made whole wheat pizzas rather than what comes to the front door delivered in a box (and no, the UPS man does not bring pizzas, honey).
So while I've tried what some ladies have recommended — cereal bars, graham crackers, muffins, waffles — I've come to the conclusion that only two things work: (1) knowing your child's tastes and preferences and, although it's fine to try to stray to introduce new things (and try them over and over again, if they're healthy offerings), stick to what you know if they're turning up their nose at novel interventions and (2) the internet is a GREAT place for helpful, fresh ideas to tempt even the most picky of palates.
I know you've heard me go on and on about Lisa Leake's 100 Days of Real Food site, but just to give you an idea, we've had success (even if success is just a few bites) with several recipes and practical ideas from her blog posts. The whole-wheat pancakes, pumpkin muffins, whole-wheat applesauce muffins and even store-bought acceptable options have all had a place at our table so far, and what I tend to do is just try one recipe after the other — right now we are still on breakfast options and all I'm missing is the buttermilk for her whole-wheat cheese biscuits. Search her site for whatever food item your kid is normally attracted to — eg, chicken nuggets, ranch dip, sandwiches, ice pops — and you're sure to find a yummy real-food option.
Another great inspiring resource is FoodFitnessAndFun.com. Ivel De Freitas, MD writes truthfully and enthusiastically about eating more greens, enjoying exercise, how to get your kids to eat healthy food and more. She, like Lisa and I, is also a mom, and the hard facts and anecdotes she shares are invaluable when it comes to motivating yourself to prepare healthier options for your family.
There are tons of other resources out there, but I picked these two sites for that reason specifically — because they're run by moms, for moms, lots of moms comment and contribute to their stories and it's a great springboard for meeting like-minded individuals and getting on the same nutritional page. Where do you go for healthy recipe ideas and tips for keeping those yucky Goldfish crackers out of the kitchen cabinet? If you have good ideas, share them here and share them with your friends. Don't keep quiet on this issue. The more we talk about it and work on it together, the more Mommy can maintain and improve her role as the nurturer and provider when it comes to diet and fitness in the household. Better yet, invite Daddy to get involved, too — not all men are of the cheeseburger-eating, football-watching kind, trust me!
Next up: What Defines a "Special Occasion"