Lately as I’ve been talking with people the topic always gets on food. When someone finds out I am the mom of 5 kids they often ask , “but wait your kids will eat that?”. Yes 99% of the time my children eat what I put out. Or I should say four out of 5 of my kids will eat what I cook. I’ve noticed as kids grow up and become adults things change and they do get some odd eating habits. It might be the large amount of processed foods they eat out with friends that are known to change taste buds. I also think it’s a right of passage of pulling away when you grow up. The way the family eats suddenly is a tool to rebel against in their teen years and early 20’s (so far), even if it was something they wanted to have or asked for. I think it’s an inner clock that says it’s time to move on and move out and find their own way of eating and living.
So, yes, when I post something up here, like my last post about having goat, my kids ate it. Actually they ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. My kids like Quinoa which to my shock I have found out lots of kids don’t like. Really? I know my youngest likes it better if I cook it in a vegetable or some other type of meat broth but that’s the only issue he has with it.
I am always more confused when I hear about a mom who is cooking several different meals for each of the her kids, then separate meals for her and her husband. I am awe of anyone who can be a short order cook like that. I admit it, I just can’t do it. Just like getting up in the cold of the night with babies wasn’t my cup of tea so it was easier to nurse as I knew I’d mess up mixing a bottle. It’s either I take shortcuts to make life easier on me and stay happy or I am lazy. You can decide. I cook one meal, we all eat it , mission accomplished. That seems like sanity making to me.
So how did I get my kids to eat what we eat? I might have to chalk that up to being sort of a shortcut as well mixed with being frugal. Jar baby food was to costly and the smell was enough to make me gag. Have you ever eaten it? The fruits are not to bad (to sweet for my tastes) but really it’s not that great. So I bought a very inexpensive food mill that I hear has been lovingly passed on to friends who passed it on as well. I would just cook dinner, say like carrots, before I seasoned them I would run them through the food mill. Whatever else we were having I would do the same and that’s what the kids ate. This way they were eating real food that we were eating. Not a sugared up version.
When the kids got older they had what we had. There really is no mystery to it. If your kids are not this way no worries. You can still try. Try out a new recipe each week or so. Leave out a some condiments on the table so your family can season the food to taste how they like it. Hot sauce is a big hit in our house for a new recipe, Soy Sauce or Tamari is another. This helps a new recipe be less scary to some kids and helps older ones feel more in control if they can change the flavor to meet their needs.
Another way to get kids eating a variety of foods is get them involved. By that I mean, meal planning, shopping , gardening and cooking. My kids go shopping with me at both the stores and farmer’s markets. Sometimes they have a list of their own to shop for a meal they are cooking for or they helped plan the menu for the week. We always plant the garden together and they help me with caring for it. All my kids have signature dishes that they cook. Like my youngest daughter makes a dish for Thanksgiving that I’d miss if it wasn’t on the table. She’s 19, busy working and out with friends and she still made it this year for the family. Teaching my kids to cook came from a goal I had to raise well adjusted adults that could take care of themselves, though I am sure at times they thought I might have been thinking slave labor. Ok I wasn’t that bad.
So get your kids involved with you in cooking. What’s the worse that can happen? You enjoy some quality time in the kitchen together and maybe laugh together? Not so bad.
Below are some pictures from Food Day and my boys cooking a dish by Mario Batali’s of Mussels with Peperonata for dinner as well as they made a roasted pear and black berry dessert served with local ice cream. If your not sure what Food Day is check out their site here. The boys worked well as a team on their first big dinner they cooked alone and the meal was amazing.
So get in that kitchen, or garden, plan a menu together and get cooking with your kids. I promise it will open doors to them trying new foods.
Till next time,